Greetings from Miami, which is almost like being in Havana.
As we get closer to the USA's first visit to Cuba for a full international in 61 years -- Saturday night's World Cup qualifier at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic and Galavision -- some thoughts about the matchup from the most prominent soccer-playing Cuban defector in the States, Chivas USA forward Maykel Galindo:
On who he is rooting for.....
"I'm rooting for Cuba. I'm Cuban, I played for the national team for a long time and I hope Cuba can advance in World Cup qualifying. I think in the last game against Trinidad and Tobago we had the opportunity to earn three points but now we have a new and very difficult game ahead. I know that the United States is the favorite and it's going to be tough for the Cubans but I would like Cuba to win."
On Cuba's chances of beating the Americans.....
"If Cuba is determined and if they have to the desire to win. If they go into the game with the mentality of 'We can't let them score any goals against us,' little by little, things could fall into place and we might get a favorable result."
On Cuba's chances of advancing to South Africa in 2010.....
"It's difficult to imagine Cuba qualifying for a World Cup right now. Whenever we manage to defeat an opponent in one of our home games in qualifying, the players often think that they can beat any other team in the world. But when we play the United States and they score four goals against us, then we realize we have to work much harder. We are still far from where we need to be to compete in a World Cup. We need preparation by competing at a high international level so we can grow more as soccer players. But then again, in soccer, anything can happen!"
I will have much more from Galindo later in the week.
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