The Washington Post is reporting that two Cuban soccer players have defected from their national team before the World Cup qualifying game on Saturday night against the United States. Cuba's state television, blaming its "imperial" foe, the United States, said midfielder Pedro Faife, 24, and forward Reynier Alcantara, 26, had "betrayed the unity of their team and given in to the temptation of the empire's money".

The two players disappeared from their hotel outside Washington before a practice on Friday, the Cuban team's coach, Reinhold Fanz, said.

Six U23 Cuban players defected in March 2008 in Miami.

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