By Jerry Mancini.
Jozy Altidore is looking forward to Toronto FC’s home opener after a 2-2 draw on the road against San Jose Earthquakes on Major League Soccer‘s opening weekend.
Mexican centre back Oswaldo Alanis scored with the last kick of the match late into added time to steal a point for San Jose after Alejandro Pozuelo and Ritchie Laryea had given Toronto a 2-0 lead.
“It’s a tough place to come,” said Altidore.
“They came a little bit more into the game and our legs started to get away from us a bit, but you have to be proud. Proud of the fight, the effort.
“It’s a tough place to come [because] they play a weird style, and so, for us to take a point back to Toronto, we’re happy to take that.
“It’s a positive, and we’re looking forward to our home opener.”
An Andres Rios goal cut Toronto’s lead in half before, in added time, Cristian Espinoza was fouled to the right of the Toronto area by Tsubasa Endoh, and though the angle looked too narrow to shoot, Alanis curled the free kick left-footed into the far corner.
“It’s one more step in my career, one more step for what’s to come. I am working on my confidence and starting off like this definitely helps with that.
“I have always taken one step at a time, and this only the start of the season.”
Altidore wore the armband in place of Michael Bradley who had ankle surgery on January 22. The midfielder is expected to miss at least four months and the club will need others to step up in the absence of their captain.
“I’m not disappointed in our performance,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney. “Our effort was incredible.
“I’m just disappointed for the group because in the end you want to take those three points. But from it, we build.
“We wanted to get the season started with a good result. It’s not a bad result to be on the road and get a draw against a tough team.
“It was so close to being three points that we wanted the three points out of it, especially given the effort, the fight, the grit that the guys [displayed] there.”
Toronto will now need to regroup as they shift their focus towards their home opener on Saturday against New York City FC.