Toronto FC coach Chris Armas awaits word on when his players will leave for Gold Cup

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Toronto FC coach Chris Armas says talks continue about when exactly his team's Gold Cup contingent leaves for the CONCACAF championship.

The main portion of the tournament runs July 10 to Aug. 1. Toronto (1-6-2) has four games during that time span, as well as a date with New England three days before it starts.

It's not a good time to lose key pieces. TFC has lost five straight and is winless in six.

"The players that we will lose to the Gold Cup, we're still waiting on some of the federations to let us know exactly (when)," Armas said ahead of Saturday's match at D.C. United.

Canada has called up fullback/wingback Richie Laryea, midfielder Jonathan Osorio and striker Ayo Akinola for the tournament. Armas said he's hoping they won't leave until after the New England game.

"That one's up in the air at this moment," he said.

Canadian players are due to start arriving in Kansas City early next week for a pre-tournament camp

Fullback Kemar Lawrence and centre back Eriq Zavaleta are joining Jamaica and El Salvador, respectively.

Lawrence said while Jamaica wanted him in camp now, talks continued about a later departure "because I want to stay, I want to play and I want to win."

"I can't leave my team now … I want to win a couple of games first and then I go," he said.

Armas said the hope is the rest of his roster remains healthy, so they can pick up the slack.

On a positive note, the coach said Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo, who sat out Saturday's 2-0 loss to FC Cincinnati after being substituted at halftime of the previous game due to hamstring tightness, participated "in a good part of" training Thursday.

The reigning MLS MVP has played in just three league games this season for a total of 170 minutes due to injury.

"We just want to keep moving him in the right direction, where we keep building to the base of his fitness. Because we don't want to take one step forward, one step back here," Armas said.

"We think he's available," he added.

Winger Yeferson Soteldo, back from international duty with Venezuela after recovering from his own hamstring injury, is also back training with the team.

"He'll also be available," said Armas, while cautioning Soteldo does not have much game or training time under his belt following the injury.

Armas referred a question on the status of disgruntled striker Jozy Altidore to GM Ali Curtis. Altidore has been training on his own since confronting Armas in the wake of being substituted in the 70th minute of a 1-0 loss to Orlando City on May 22.

Curtis told The Canadian Press that the situation had not changed although there had been more talks with the Altidore camp.

Toronto currently sits in 26th place in the MLS overall standings.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2021.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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