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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Jozy Altidore's ban for skirmish with Sacha Kljestan upheld - TFC's Vanney

Jozy Altidore has received his fair share of criticism over the years, and he may be the U.S.'s most polarizing player.

Jozy Altidore's suspension for his part in a halftime skirmish during Toronto FC's Nov. 5 playoff match against New York Red Bulls has been upheld, according to TFC manager Greg Vanney.

The United States international will miss the first leg of Toronto's Eastern Conference final against Columbus Crew SC on Nov. 21.

"We got notice from the independent panel that Jozy's suspension was upheld, so he won't be available for this first match," Vanney said on Wednesday.

"Ultimately the referees had given him a red card, so the burden of proof was on us to unequivocally prove that what we understand to have happened, happened."

Vanney continued: "We weren't able to do that conclusively with the video because there are still little gaps in [it] that don't give enough information for us to prove [our case]. With that they have upheld the suspension, so he will be out."

Tyler Adams, left, and Jozy Altidore scuffle during the Eastern Conference second leg between Toronto and New York.
Jozy Altidore was sent off in the second leg of Toronto's Eastern Conference semifinal.

Altidore and Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan were both handed red cards for violent conduct for their scuffle in the tunnel at the conclusion of the opening 45 minutes of their second-leg Eastern Conference semifinal clash. Both players had had been booked for clashing in the first half.

"It went down as violent conduct," Vanney added. "It happened, according to the official, in one of the time periods and areas where the videos were not conclusive. The proof wasn't enough for them to overturn."

Upon receiving news of the panel's decision, Vanney said Altidore was "frustrated with the whole process, but he's going about his business. We have to move on."

Kljestan said Altidore "shoved me into the wall," but the Toronto forward said Kljestan "tried to come get me from behind, choked me, pushed me."

Toronto appealed Altidore's red card and one-game suspension, and he felt video evidence would clear him of any wrongdoing.

Instead, Toronto will be without its main striker next week as Vanney's side try to make it back to the MLS Cup final for a second straight season.

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