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Havana Nights

The U.S. team arrived safely at its seaside hotel early this evening.

The Commish Don Garber made the trip. So did USSF Prez Sunil Gulati, who taught a class at Columbia this morning.

A few dozen foreign reporters based in Havana awaited the delegation in the hotel lobby and chased Landon Donovan to the elevators. Coach Bob Bradley and defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu attended a news conference.

While the team got settled, the Insider joined scribes from the New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Daily News and L.A. Magazine for dinner at the breathtaking La Cocina de Lilliam in the Miramar district. Besides the gorgeous garden setting, malanga root, roasted garlic with half-chicken and icy-cold but disappointing Bucanero Fuerte cerveza, the restaurant's claim to fame is to have served Jimmy Carter several years ago. The dinner was one of the best ever during a decade of World Cup qualifying journeys. The perfect final touch: The business card is an artsy photo of a chef, from the waist down, in whites, rolled-up blue jeans and red sneakers with a pan at her side.

Tonight's hotel TV offerings: Live coverage of Harbour View-Pumas, live coverage of South Carolina-Vanderbilt football, three Chinese stations, the Republican convention in Spanish and English and a dubbed version of "Almost Famous."

What would you choose?

My article about Cuban soccer will be available in Friday's editions and, of course, on washingtonpost.com. I'll take a look at the U.S. team and the magnitude of the match -- from a historic and practical perspective -- in Saturday's paper.


By Steve Goff  |  September 4, 2008; 10:18 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Morning Kickaround

Comments

"live coverage of South Carolina-Vanderbilt football"

Huh? We're allowed to export media to Cuba, but cellphones and blackberries are blocked?

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: JayRockers! | September 4, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@Jay:
We're not allowed to export TV to Cuba. No one in the U.S. has given permission nor is getting paid for those programs.

Posted by: Dave | September 4, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Goff...and I actually felt bad for you traveling around.

Posted by: JJ | September 4, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Goff the fluff pieces are nice but do you have a pay site I dont know about where you tell readers what you are really up to in Cuba?

Posted by: Mountaineer Pride | September 4, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

thanks Steve, sorry the beer sucked, but with all the smokebombs, and rum jibber jabber all day who could complain?
Kenny Cooper did nothing on the field while Christian Gomez did nothing on the bench..
STEVE! Kasper was quoted on WAPost LIve talking about a new player that United signed before the window closed... YOu know anything? "young international" were Kapser's words..
Also did you really not see a broadcast of United's victory last night?
You sound pleasantly busy, but inquiring minds need to know!
GO USA!

Posted by: dadryan | September 4, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

"Almost Famous" cute flick. Definitely preferable to the Rep. Con. SoCar vs Vandy, or HV vs Pumas.

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 4, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but me thinks dem pirates can't make beer. That's a task better left to the Irish and German . . .

>>>>>>>>>>
Bucanero Fuerte, a beer for the distinguished drinker!

Bucanero Fuerte is made from the most natural and freshest ingredients, with superior malt and blended with just a touch of Cuba`s finest sugars.

Named after old legends of the Caribbean pirates, this hidden treasure is truly one of Cuba`s best-kept secrets

Posted by: delantero | September 4, 2008 11:49 PM

Posted by: delantero | September 4, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

E. None of the above.

WALK THE STREETS!

""Tonight's hotel TV offerings: Live coverage of Harbour View-Pumas, live coverage of South Carolina-Vanderbilt football, three Chinese stations, the Republican convention in Spanish and English and a dubbed version of "Almost Famous."""

Posted by: fuera periodista | September 4, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Which idiot picked the movie? Versus footie? Are ye mad, man?

Posted by: jloome | September 5, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Depending on your Spanish proficiency...I'd go with Almost Famous. However, I"m intrigued that the footy is on.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 5, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Any word from the Commish on the rumor I started in the last thread about DCU signing a former Cuban defector off the Battery roster?

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 5, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

I was watching the FCDallas v Colorado match tonight - and I got really sad seeing Christian Gomez on the bench... what are the odds/chances of him making a return to DC again for some allocation $, allocation spot, superdraft picks, or rod dyachenko??

Posted by: Anthony | September 5, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

the cuban malt lickore must have gotten to the Goff... Probably all the media folks...
Reminds me of RFK, you can't trust the dirty tap beer they sell so you stick with the airplane bottles you brung.
Roll what you know.
Get Er Done Steve!

Posted by: dadryan | September 5, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

yeah, nothing like Petke scoring the GWG while #10 sits on the bench...
Poor Xstian.
I don't think Kasper was talking about C.Gomez when he was talking announcements.

Posted by: dadryan | September 5, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Why "Almost Famous" over Harbour View vs Pumas?

Have you ever watched Harbour View play?

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 5, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Some Cuban men call that beer "Buscanegra"...part nickname, part helpful advice, you might say.

Posted by: la lucha sigue | September 5, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

The Commish Don Garber made the trip. So did USSF Prez Sunil Gulati, who taught a class at Columbia this morning.

Why am I so not surprised?

Maybe they want to take a picture w/El Commandante (aka, Fidel the Butcher) before they leave?

Posted by: Joseph D'Hippolito | September 5, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

While I'm really stunned that GOmez has become a benchwarmer in Colorado, I think the swap has worked out exactly as I predicted it would. Gallardo would struggle to adapt to the MLS game and to learn his new teammates, and wouldn't be nearly as productive as Gomez had been. United would get off to a much slower start than we're used to seeing, because of the adjustment period and because Gallardo isn't the goal-scorer that Gomez was. Our corner kicks and free kicks have been much less dangerous. And yet, eventually, Gallardo would find his niche within the team. He is capable of great brilliance, as that move he put on the Battery defender last night showed. If United can find people to succeed in the roles where Gomez did -- on the dead balls, along with his penetrating runs and playmaking, they will come out on top. I'm still looking to see someone step up with the free kicks (Burch was looking real good in the USOC early rounds, but hasn't been given many opportunities lately -- I was really disappointed to see Quaranta step up and take one from distance, over Burch last night). Fred hasn't been as productive as Gomez, because his touch seems to desert him when he shoots, but he, Gallardo and Quaranta are starting to fill Gomez' shoes. I don't think I'm just being a homer, when I say that this will be a team to watch during the MLS Cup playoffs.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 5, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Have you ever watched Harbour View play?

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 5, 2008 12:45 AM

I saw DCU pick apart Harbor View earlier this year. A swiss cheese defense.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 5, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: Garber visit

I'm sure he just wanted to talk to Fidel about how to run a single entity into the ground.

Posted by: Logan Circle | September 5, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: Garber visit

I'm sure he just wanted to talk to Fidel about how to run a single entity into the ground.
--------------------------

I was actually talking with Fidel about a possible expansion team in Havana. Our goal for MLS in the next 60-90 days is to expand to 300 teams and completely ruin the quality of play.

But hey, more money in my wallet!

Posted by: Don Garber | September 5, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

"My article about Cuban soccer will be available in Friday's editions and, of course, on washingtonpost.com." S. Goff

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/04/AR2008090403206.html

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 5, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Steve: How is large is the US media contingent compared to the Guatemala match? You mention St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Daily News and L.A. Magazine: do they usually cover road qualifiers or are they in Havana for the occasion?

Grant Wahl also mentioned your paella dinner on his blog. Everyone knows where you are and whom you're with, so the Cuban gov't doesn't need to follow you.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 5, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

"roasted garlic with half-chicken"

Nice touch, a little chicken with that garlic . . . .

I'd go for the Republican convention in Spanish. All those party folk bending knees and clapping hands in unison to Earth Wind & Fire ("Celebrate good times, c'mon!") . . . it's a universal language . . of some sort . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | September 5, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey Goff,

I had pop tarts for breakfast this morning and watched a taped Soprano's rerun on TV last night.

Hey, did they put a mint on your pillow last night? What's the toilet paper like in Havana?

The soccer community awaits.

Posted by: Tommie | September 5, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Doh . . . . Kool & The Gang, not EW&F

Posted by: OWNTF | September 5, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Doh . . . . Kool & The Gang, not EW&F

Posted by: OWNTF | September 5, 2008 9:24 AM
===========

But how many GOP delegates would know the difference?

just sayin'

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 5, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

What's a matter Tommie? Jealous? Isn't time for you to grab a Diet Coke and have a cigarette?Fart...

Posted by: dadryan | September 5, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

what BS that all these media types get to go to the game, and we cannot...Even if we came through Canada or Mexico, would we still have been able to get tickets? Will there be an American section at the stadium? How does it work seeing a soccer match in a totalitarian/Communist state?

Posted by: Alan | September 5, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

How does it work seeing a soccer match in a totalitarian/Communist state?

Posted by: Alan | September 5, 2008 12:45 PM

=========================

You get to watch Landon Donovan be doubleplusungood

Posted by: OWNTF | September 5, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Goofster,
What is wrong with you? :) Beer in Havana?? Come on....
Stick with the Rum!! Cuban Rum is great...second best in the region after the Haitian Barbancourt!! :)


Posted by: Charlie | September 6, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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