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Cuban Countdown

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.

By Steve Goff  |  September 2, 2008; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , CONCACAF , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: DCU Update


Translation: The US kills Cuba 3-0. Cuba has one or two chances to score.

Posted by: therealfootball | September 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Goffer, you should take a camera and post some photos of Old Habana on your blog.

Posted by: Cuba Libre | September 2, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that they changed the import laws from Cuba in 2004. You used to be able to bring back $100 worth of goods (read cigars) legally. And $100 buys alot of cigars there. But now you cannot bring back any cigars or alcohol at all. Sad.

Posted by: Steve | September 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Galindo must be dreaming of the day when he can play for the Cuban MNT once more. He's only 27 years old, so it may yet happen.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 2, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I guess the best question to ask Galindo would be how many guys does he think will defect when they come back and play in the US again. I am surprised they can still field a team that is somewhat competitive

Posted by: GLD123 | September 2, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Be sure to get some garlic chicken and fried plantains somewhere...

(sigh, Versailles in Manhattan Beach -- closest I'll ever get to Cuba, unfortunately)

Posted by: Foodie | September 2, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Something interesting for the Goff or someone else to look at...if Cuba called in players for the NT regardless of where they play, what would the NT Lineup look like?

Posted by: Rene | September 2, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Seven coments before mine and no-one has complained about the match being on ESPN Classic. Did y'all read the post thoroughly?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 2, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Classic is fine by me, since I get that channel and not ESPN or ESPN 2.

Posted by: Steve | September 2, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

To I-270, Exit 1:

It's a contest that dates back to the early 60s (and that's just since the Cuban ownership changed!). Sounds like Classic is just the place for it. :-)

Posted by: Stevan in Gaithersburg | September 3, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse


Wait, what? You get ESPN Classic but not ESPN or ESPN 2?

How is that possible?

Posted by: DemonJuice | September 3, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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