U.S. players arrived in Fairfax on Monday from near (D.C. United’s Paul Arriola) and far (Turkish-based Tyler Boyd), but one call-up stayed behind for an injury assessment.
Altidore remained in Ontario after departing Toronto FC’s 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew with a second-half calf injury. U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter was awaiting word on whether Altidore would be healthy enough to report to camp ahead of Nations League matches.
“I don’t even think I should speculate on it,” Berhalter said Monday before light workouts at George Mason University. “We’re waiting on the results of the scan. When we get the results, together with Toronto, we’ll make a decision.”
Altidore, who turns 30 next month, ranks third on the U.S. career scoring chart with 42 goals in 115 international appearances. He missed the recent friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay because of Toronto’s schedule.
Aside from the U.S. schedule, Altidore will want to reach peak fitness for the MLS playoff against United on Oct. 19 at BMO Field.
Berhalter called seven forwards into camp, but among those who are able to play centrally, no one matches Altidore’s experience and strength as a target. He figured to start one of these two matches, perhaps at the Toronto stadium he has called home for five seasons.
Berhalter already lost one player to injury: Los Angeles FC defender Walker Zimmerman suffered a concussion Sunday against the Colorado Rapids and was scratched from U.S. consideration Monday. Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, who was initially assigned to an under-23 training camp, took Zimmerman’s roster spot.
Berhalter welcomed back defender DeAndre Yedlin, who has not played for the U.S. team since March because of a groin injury. Sidelined with Newcastle in the Premier League since April, he returned Sept. 29 to make a late-game appearance at Leicester City and logged 90 minutes Sunday in a 1-0 victory over visiting Manchester United.
“We have been with him through this process,” Berhalter said. “It’s been frustrating because it’s been taking a long time for him to get back on the field — back healthy, back feeling like himself. But he was able to play 90 minutes. You see what he did [against Manchester United]: He just grinded. We were surprised he stayed on, but mentally he got into a good place and just kept working hard."
Center back Matt Miazga also returns after missing the past two friendlies — and a month of action with English second-tier Reading — with a hamstring injury.
Another player back in the mix is Arriola, who skipped the Mexico and Uruguay friendlies for family reasons. Arriola has performed well for Berhalter since the coach’s appointment last winter, making an impact on the flanks.
He will remain in a wide role for the national team, although he inherited a central midfield job late in the season.
“If we do interchange,” Berhalter said, “at least he is comfortable in that position coming inside.”
>> Berhalter attended the D.C.-Cincinnati match Sunday but kept a close eye on many of the other 11 games that kicked off simultaneously.
“Those were my favorite days in the league [as Columbus’s coach] where there is a lot of excitement, they are flashing goals, I’m getting my updates on my phone. I had my phone open the whole time, getting the live table.”
>> Besides Arriola, several others in the delegation have ties to the D.C. area: assistant coach Josh Wolff (former D.C. forward), guest goalkeepers coach Rob Vartughian (former University of Maryland assistant), goalkeeper Zack Steffen (Maryland), midfielder Michael Bradley (who lived in Fairfax County when he was young) and attacker Christian Pulisic, whose parents played at George Mason.
>> As of Monday afternoon, 10,150 tickets had been sold. The U.S. team’s visit in June for a pre-Gold Cup friendly against Jamaica drew 17,719. … Kickoff is slated for 7:06 p.m. on FS1 and UniMas. … The Americans will train Tuesday through Thursday at George Mason, but all sessions are closed to the public.