Here is what US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said today when asked about the status of Sounders' defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who defected from Cuba and has expressed hopes for playing with the USA:
We’re following his situation with big interest for a while. Unfortunately, the Cuban side of it is not responsive at all. We need their help in a certain way to get him cleared from Cuba. It is more like an administrative and governmental issue which we from the technical side have no influence on it. I wish I could have brought him in already in the January camp. He knows that. Always I’m staying in touch with Sigi and with Adrian here all the time. He himself, he deserves a chance, he deserves a possibility, but it’s not in our hands unfortunately. If Cuba is not giving us a clearance – is not giving us a bit of help – FIFA is very kind of strict on those matters. We’re on it, but no movement so far.
Here's the full transcript of his halftime interview:
(On his visit to Seattle…) “We wanted to connect with the Sounders and see the game, and secondly, use the opportunity to discuss a bit our World Cup qualifier here, look at the facilities and the hotel.” (On looking at any particular players…) “When you get a chance to watch the game, you look at players who are of interest to you. Unfortunately, Brad Evans is still out, Eddie Johnson is still out. We wanted to see them, but then look at the next ones in line. What we’re doing right now is we’re all over the place with our coaching staff looking at players. Most important thing is being in touch with coach they know what’s going on all over the place.” (On playing in Seattle…) “It’s a big deal for us coming to the Northwest. It was already planned for a long time. The tricky part for us was when we can get our European players coming into the Northwest. We have a nine-hour time difference. With a short time window, it’s difficult, and it’s tough for the players. We end up mostly on the East coast and go from there and obviously to the Central American countries. When we looked at everything for summer schedule, we have to make it happen here.” (On playing on grass at CenturyLink Field…) ”A big topic coming into the Northwest is can we play on a regular grass field? The Sounders made it possible. Seattle made it possible that we have the World Cup qualifier on grass on June 11. That plays a vital role for us. Portland wasn’t able, but Portland was also on the schedule for the Gold Cup. […] We know support is amazing in the Northwest and interest is huge. Thrilled it all worked out being here on June 11 and in Portland on July 9 to open Gold Cup.” (On Osvaldo Alonso’s situation…) “We’ve followed his situation with big interest. Unfortunately, the Cuban side isn’t responsive at all. We need their help in a certain way to get him cleared from Cuba. It is more like an administrative and governmental issue which we have no influence on it. I wish I could have brought him into January camp, and he knows that. Obviously, I’m in touch with Sigi and Adrian here all the time. He deserves a chance. He deserves a possibility, but it’s not in our hands, unfortunately. If Cuba is not giving a clearance, it’s not giving us a bit of help, FIFA is kind of strict in those matters. We’re on it, but no movement so far.” (More on Alonso…) “Having a player you can follow and plays on a consistent high level is of interest to us. I think Ozzie did that over the last two years. He really made himself known as a very strong No. 6, a very good team player, a player who is always there for his teammates. He has a role similar to Kyle Beckerman of Salt Lake. Those two guys as No. 6’s in the league have shown tremendous consistency and the highest quality. You just hope you can make something for him. He would have been part of our January camp, but unfortunately, we can’t bring him in.” (On DeAndre Yedlin…) “We follow the youngsters. We’re aware of the U-20 players, the U-17 players. We have our eye on them. But you don’t want to bring their name up to the national team unless he’s ready because you don’t want to get them off the ground too early.” (On the hexagonal stage…) “Every team to play away is tough. We have big ones still coming up in Costa Rica, then Panama, as well. Every match is a huge. So that’s why it’s huge for us coming here on June 11 to play this home game against Panama here in Seattle with a full stadium and big support. Every game you have to treat as a big one, as a three-pointer whenever you meet one of those teams.”