Richard Cromwell hosts a qualifier

Boy, sometimes doing the minimum of research pays off handsomely. I was all set with a "But you see, Michael Orozco PLAYED against a Cuba team just this year" defense, and then a little voice told me to make sure.

So you might as well have called up Tiffany whatshername with the bikini.

Still, I do approve of calling in Orojozco. He's taken heat for Olympic disappointment that needs to be spread out much more evenly, up to and including guys who took stupid yellows thinking they would miss a meaningless third game...all of whom were also called in for Cuba, or will be recalled to the Yaks at some point. While I agree that You Should Never Throw An Elbow, and while it was indeed a more violent swipe than what Khano Smith gave to David Beckham on Saturday, we've all seen that sort of maneuver let off with a warning, or totally ignored.

The US isn't so deep that we can toss Orozco overboard on the basis of one play. Calling him in gives him a chance to start over - and start over completely anew, since this is the Jack Edwards Full International Team. Zero caps, zero history. If the guy can't play...a possibility that I'm sure has crossed everyone's mind...that's probably going to come out in practice long before he takes the field.

Besides...it's Cuba. I realize the worst, most obnoxious, least realistic, least tolerable fans the US has are the ones who demand that we win road games by four goals with a beauty and grace that would make Pele weep with envy. When it comes to Caribbean teams, even the truly exceptional ones like Jamaica of the 1998 cycle, I'm one of those fans. I can tolerate ugly wins and even ugly draws in Central America, but in the islands? Bunch of baseball players, and yes I do realize the irony of an American saying this. If Michael Orozco is the thin anthracite gray line keeping us from defeat in Havana, then we don't deserve to go to the World Cup. The only result I will accept is a multi-goal blowout followed by Carlos Bocanegra telling the crowd "If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!" while they chant "USA! USA! USA!"

Speaking of Cold Wars, this wire service report (variations of which are all over the place, if anyone wants to claim credit for having written it, please say so) played up the political angle of the game.

Maybe they brought in Orozco to translate.

Look, both Lewis and our anonymous scribe are 90 miles offshore here. There are political reasons why the US gets hissed and whistled in Mexico and Central America, too. And I don't know what Eddie expects to hear in Havana that he wouldn't have heard in San Jose. (The Costa Rican one. Although I guess the Casbah worked a little blue in the 90's.)