CARSON, Calif. – After 29 days, four international soccer matches and 20,428 miles, Jonathan Bornstein is finally home.
The Chivas USA co-captain returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon after serving as part of the US National Team that traveled to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The squad qualified for the Round of 16 as Group C winners, but was knocked out by Ghana on an extra-time goal.
“It was a really good experience for me personally, and for the team,” said Bornstein at a press event on Thursday. “We’re all a little disappointed to be out of the tournament and back home watching the games, but we set out to do something special and accomplish the immediate goal of getting out of the group. The fact that we took first [in Group C] was something to be very proud of. We had some success, but I definitely think we could have had more.”
Bornstein returned to Chivas USA training on Thursday morning and will likely be named in the starting XI for Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union at the Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m. PT). His is a welcome return for the Red-and-White, who haven’t won a league game since May 5.
“I was watching the Chivas games while I was gone, and we haven’t won in a while,” he said. “I wanted to come back and show the guys, ‘Yeah, I just played in a World Cup, but I’m very committed to this team and want to turn things around.’ This Saturday is a perfect opportunity to do that.”
Bornstein made his World Cup debut in the USA’s 1-0 over Algeria in the final group stage game. His presence was a stabilizing force in the back line, helping the team to keep its first and only shutout of the tournament.
“I was just hoping and crossing my fingers that I might get in,” said Bornstein of seeing playing time in South Africa. “When I did find out, [coach] Bob [Bradley] came up to me and told me, ‘We’re going to go a little differently this game. We’re going to be playing you.’ I was extremely happy that I was going to get a chance to show myself at the World Cup. I just went out on the field and did what I could.”
With the US World Cup run coming to an end, Bornstein will now turn his attentions to MLS play. But the Los Alamitos, Calif., native is excited to learn from his time in South Africa and to continue improving on the pitch.
“Now that it’s all over, I’m just examining the experiences that I had and I’m trying to think about how it can make me a better player – even for Saturday,” he said. “It’s easy to stay focused. In anything you do, once you accomplish something, it’s just on to the next thing.”