Altidore says video backs up his account of tunnel clash
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto forward Jozy Altidore says video backs his account of last weekend’s tunnel clash with New York Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan, which caused both players to be ejected from the second leg of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference semifinal.
Toronto appealed Altidore’s red card and one-game suspension, discipline that would cause him to miss the first leg of the conference final at Columbus on Nov. 21.
“I think the club’s doing a great job handling it and I’m looking forward to being part of both legs against Columbus,” Altidore said Thursday.
Altidore said Kljestan initiated the tunnel incident. The two clashed late in the half, with Kljestan giving him a shove.
“He came up behind me, tried to like grab or whatever, and I just pushed him off me, and that was it,” Altidore said. “Then I walked right into the locker room. I didn’t even see or know about the whole brawl thing until later on. I was not involved in any way. I defended myself quickly and that was it. The video doesn’t lie. And hopefully the league is going to do the right thing, which I’m sure they will.”
Kljestan said after Sunday’s game that Altidore was the aggressor.
“At halftime, (Altidore) shoved me into the wall,” he maintained. “And so I have a clear conscience. I don’t feel like I deserve a red card.”