Two players on Cuba's soccer team were lised on a roster as "not present," but team officials would not confirm whether they had defected.
The team is in Houston for the first round of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament. After a 5-0 loss to Honduras on Wednesday night, Cuban coach Raul Gonzalez declined to say whether Osvaldo Alonso and Lester More defected.
"I'm a football man, not a politician. I will not answer that question," he said. Gonzalez added later: "They went for the gold. I hope they don't end up with thorns."
"The ones who take another road take it because they want to take it," he said.
CONCACAF, the governing body of soccer, issued a statement before the game saying it would not comment on rumors of a Cuban defection.
Cuban athletes have defected from the communist country while in international competitions outside Cuba.
In 2005, forward Maykel Galindo defected during a Gold Cup tournament in Seattle.
Flirtation with Turkey turned out to be disastrous for Russia, but as long as Russia is in the game, the stakes should be high