TORONTO — It's beginning to look as if several members of the Cuban national team may have defected prior to Friday's World Cup qualifier against Canada at BMO Field.
A Cuban official told Sportsnet shortly before kickoff that Cuba traveled with 16 players, but Cuba dressed only 11 in Friday's lineup. There was no immediate word as to the other five's whereabouts.
With no points through four matches in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying, Cuba were already eliminated heading into Friday's game.
The Cubans trained Thursday night here at BMO Field, but FIFA closed the session to media about an hour before it was scheduled to start.
Two of MLS' three Cuban players, Osvaldo Alonso and Yordany Álvarez, both defected; Alonso is now a US citizen. Eduardo Sebrango, of the Montreal Impact, is a naturalized Canadian citizen.