Jurgen Klinsmann: Cuba standing in the way of Osvaldo Alonso on the USMNT
SEATTLE — If Jurgen Klinsmann had his way, Osvaldo Alonso would have already been called into United States national team camp.
Unfortunately, the Cuban federation has not exactly been cooperative in accomodating Alonso's release, Klinsmann said during halftime of the Sounders-Revolution game on Saturday.
"We need their help in a certain way to get him cleared," Klinsmann told reporters. "It is a more of an administrative and governmental issue, which we on the technical side have no influence over."
Although Alonso became a US citizen last year, he has appeared for the Cuban national team in a FIFA-sanctioned competition and is therefore ineligible to play for another country. But since he defected in 2008, Cuba have not allowed him to play for their team, and Alonso has requested a waiver to allow for a switch.
If it does happen, Klinsmann would be more than happy to make use of another defensive midfielder.
"Every player that you follow and plays on a consistent high level is of interest to us," Klinsmann said. "I think Ozzie did that over the past two years. He really made himself known as a strong No. 6, a very good team player, a player that is always there for his teammates in a role similar to Kyle Beckerman at Real Salt Lake.
"You know you just hope you can make something happen for him. We can't bring him in until this topic is solved."
Alonso is, unsurprisingly, hoping something happens sooner than later.
"I know the situation is complicated and that there has been conversation," he said through a translator. "My only hope is that through the work that is happening right now that I'll have a chance to play for the national team."
Alonso's performance on Saturday surely didn't do anything to change Klinsmann's mind. Alonso completed a season-high 108 of his 116 passes and was by far the most active player on the field in the Sounders' 0-0 tie with the New England Revolution.
"He helped recover a lot of ball," Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. "He was good and he was active. We talked about that, with that always being the hallmark of his game and never deviating. He did his job. He won the ball, played it on and guys have to do their job from there."