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American Exports: Bornstein staying at Tigres, set to battle

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After a loan deal to Atlante over the summer fell through, Jonathan Bornstein’s short-term future south of the border is set.

“I’m staying at Tigres,” Bornstein told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Monterrey on Monday. “I can’t go anywhere else in Mexico [due to league rules], so I’ll start the season and see where it goes from there.”

Tigres UANL had struck a deal to loan the 27-year-old former Chivas USA captain to Atlante back in early June, a move that would’ve likely shunted Bornstein into a team in which he was a starter.

Then the deal fell through after Atlante wouldn’t agree to paying Bornstein’s wages in full.

That means another battle for minutes in a highly competitive squad coached by Ricardo Ferretti. But Bornstein says he is feeling good, has been getting playing time in preseason and is in a positive frame of mind ahead of the Apertura 2012.

“I missed preseason the last two seasons with this team,” he explained. “It hindered me a little bit. I think they might have a little more trust in terms of putting me in a game and knowing what I can do.”

Bornstein has featured at both left back and center midfield for Tigres this preseason in games against Atlante, Correcaminos, Toluca and San Luis. He has the added advantage as the Liga MX season kicks off in that veteran Carlos Salcido – who can play both those positions – is away at the Olympics with the Mexican national team.

If minutes don’t come in domestic play, Bornstein will likely feature in the CONCACAF Champions League, with Ferretti set to rest his first team for those matches.

As for his position, Bornstein believes that if he is to return to the US national team, his best chance is at left back.

“I don’t think there’d be any opportunity as a contención,” said the World Cup veteran, using the Spanish term for holding midfielder. “That position in the national team is pretty locked down in terms of a big pool of players always battling for a spot.”

Before convincing Jurgen Klinsmann he belongs with the US side, though, Bornstein’s immediate challenge is to win over the stubborn Ferretti.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.