Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore called New York Red Bulls fans “classless,” saying there is “no loyalty anymore” after he and teammate Michael Bradley were booed by fans of their former club on Monday.
Both players — also leading figures in the U.S. national team that failed to qualify for the World Cup — were on the receiving end of jeers from the home supporters at the Red Bull Arena on Monday as Toronto claimed a 2-1 MLS Eastern Conference semifinal first-leg victory.
Altidore and Bradley both started their careers with the MLS franchise — Bradley when it was still known as the MetroStars — before moving to Europe, and Altidore said after Monday’s game that he should have been treated better by his old supporters.
“I thought it was a little bit classless, with a place I gave a lot to, and they gave a lot to me, had some good memories,” Altidore said. “But it is what it is. There’s no loyalty anymore. I guess all bets are off.”
Earlier this month, both Altidore and Bradley started on the U.S. team that lost in Trinidad, a result that sealed the team’s failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup.
Altidore said he understood fans’ frustration in that respect, but felt the taunts crossed a line. He mocked applause at the Red Bull fans as he was substituted in the 86th minute.
“Being disappointed with the World Cup, I get, I understand. But the other stuff is a bit disappointing,” he said. “I never was disrespectful towards these people. It’s my first club, and I have so much admiration for the club.”
Altidore added that the national team players are hurting just as much as the fans following their World Cup failure.
“Nobody suffers more than the players,” he said. “I get fans, they put a lot into it. We are nothing without our fans. But at the end of it, the biggest losers are the players and the program, not being able to further so much good work that we’ve done over the past 10 years.”
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