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Cuba's Ariel Martinez Ran off "into the Darkness," is Fourth Player to Defect During Gold Cup

Ariel Martinez became the fourth Cuban player on the national team to defect while in the United States. Martinez "ran off into the darkness" after beating Guatemala.

Following Cuba's 1-0 win over Guatemala on Wednesday, striker Ariel Martinez became the fourth player to defect during the team's Gold Cup appearance in the United States. Martinez—who made Cuba's lone goal against Guatemala possible with a long pass to Alberto Gomez—reportedly had tears in his eyes on the team bus as they made their the way back to the hotel after advancing to the quarterfinals. When the bus got back to the hotel, he informed coach Raúl González that he would not be staying with the team any longer, hugged him, and then just took off "into the darkness."


Cuba, who are set to play the United States at 5 p.m. this evening at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, have now lost four players to defection since the start of the Gold Cup, including Keiler Garcia after the Group C opener. Not only did Garcia defect, but he wound up on television, providing analysis for Univision during his former team's game against Guatemala. Arael Arguellez and Dario Suarez also left during the group stage. Gonzalez told reporters that the team will have only 19 players for the game tonight.