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Portland Timbers Eying Cuban Defectee Yosniel Mesa? [Rumor]

A few weeks ago, the Cuban national team flew up to Charlotte N.C. for a CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Costa Rica, as is usually the case when their team flies to some other country, a number of Cuban players defected to the United States. One of the players was 27 year old Yosniel Mesa, who is currently training with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers while he seeks his working permit.

Here's where things get a little interesting. El Nuevo Herald from Miami is reporting that while Mesa is training with the Strikers and there is interest in him from Traffic USA, the group that owns the Strikers, the Portland Timbers have contacted Mesa and invited him to train with the team. Here's the exact quote from the article:

Less than a week to have escaped from the Cuban in Charlotte, Yosniel Mesa began training with the Strikers, Thursday at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

At the same time, the Portland Timbers of the expansion team in MLS, Mesa contacted to invite to your workouts.

"We're still in the process of normalizing process the documents for his stay in America," said his uncle Julio, who has been providing support. "It is preferable not to travel to Portland until he gets his work permit."

Translated from Spanish, forgive the somewhat broken nature of it.

I'm still researching the player, but I'm not exactly finding much information. Apparently he's a striker, according a player profile. I'm also having difficulties with finding his exact age. Wikipedia (which doesn't have a full article on him) lists his age at 27 where as the profile page has it listed at 30.

The only thing I could find on him was this short clip from his final game with the Cuban National team. I believe he is #17 and he enters into the game at the 79th minute (34th on the Univsion clock). Right at about the :30 mark of the video.

As always treat this as what it is: a rumor. Until there's enough evidence from multiple independent sources or the team comments on it directly this probably remains a long shot.

[The Allocation Order via El Nuevo Herald]