Five members of the Cuban Under-23 national team have gone missing from the team hotel following the squad’s 1-1 tie against the United States on Tuesday night.
Five players, including standout goalkeeper Jose Manuel Miranda (pictured), left the team hotel in Tampa and haven’t been seen since Tuesday evening.
The disappearances have left Cuba with just 13 players for its next match, against Honduras on Thursday. CONCACAF could as Cuba to forfeit the tournament but Cuban head coach Raul Gonzalez has already stated that he has no intention of having his team forfeit.
I am calling it now, Jose Manuel Miranda will be the starting goalkeeper for Chivas USA in 2009. And that noise you hear? It is the stampede of MLS general managers rushing to the fax machine to get in their "discovery" claims on these players.
The possible defection shouldn’t come as a complete shock but I will admit to having thought that there would be less interest in defecting considering how tough a time the Cuban players who defected during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup had trying to find professional deals. The funny thing is that it just so happens that one of the Gold Cup defectors, Lestor More, just signed with the Charleston Battery last week.
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