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Toronto FC asking USMNT if Bradley, Altidore can miss Peru friendly

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore may not be with the United States when the Americans take on Peru next month. Toronto FC is talking with U.S. Soccer and asking that the duo not be called up for the September 4 friendly, according to Sportsnet.

Toronto FC are in the middle of a playoff race and have extra pressure on them because they have never made the playoffs before. With a match against the Sounders scheduled for September 5, the Reds are hoping that they can hold onto Bradley and Altidore for the match, then release them afterward to play in the Americans' September 8 friendly against Brazil.

The Peru match falls on a FIFA international date so the U.S. are under no obligation to let Bradley and Altidore skip the contest and play for Toronto. If the U.S. wants to call the duo in, they can do so and TFC can't do a thing about it. But U.S. Soccer has always tried to help MLS clubs an work with them to help them out so Jurgen Klinsmann could grant Toronto their wish and it would be business as usual.

If this were any friendly, Klinsmann would almost certainly let Bradley and Altidore play for their club, but this one comes at an important time for the U.S. They have just the Peru and Brazil matches to prepare for October's crucial Confederations Cup playoff against Mexico. After that, World Cup qualifying begins in November. The September friendlies are the Americans' last non-competitive matches of the year and, after a disastrous Gold Cup, the team has a lot of work to do.

The question for Klinsmann is whether he sees these friendlies as important matches to prepare. If not, and if he is going to continue experimenting, letting Bradley and Altidore stay with TFC is not a problem. If he is going to make them key matches and try to pull together the team ahead of a vital October and November then the Reds have to pay the price for having a match on an international date. MLS keeps scheduling matches on international dates and if matches are important to the U.S. then it's long past time for the national team to tell the league that they're out of luck.