Chivas USA defender Carlos Borja made his MLS debut on Saturday evening, coming on as a sub in the 79th minute to help the Red-and-White to a 3-2 victory over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes.
But while the minutes may have been his first in MLS, Borja is no stranger to the league or to the Chivas name.
Borja started his professional career with Chivas USA, serving as a member of the first team in the 2006 season. The 22-year-old didn’t make any MLS appearances, but played in a number of games with the Red-and-White reserves.
Borja then spent two years in Mexico with sister team Chivas de Guadalajara, playing primarily in the Primera A division with affiliate team CD Tapatío. Borja then returned to Chivas USA this season, signing a contract on March 25.
“I felt good on my debut,” Borja said after Saturday’s match. “I was a little nervous in my first minutes, but as the game went on, I got more comfortable. More importantly, I’m just glad the team got three points.”
Borja entered Saturday’s game in the 79th minute as a substitute for injured Chivas USA center back Michael Umaña. Borja slotted into the left-back position behind midfielder Jesús Padilla, which pushed Jonathan Bornstein into the middle.
“I know [Jesús] from Mexico, so he and I have good chemistry,” said Borja. “And I know Bornstein from when I was here a few years ago. I know the guys and I know what their tendencies are, so I think we all feel comfortable. I didn’t feel out of place or anything.”
While Borja was certainly pleased with the game that both he and his teammates had on Saturday, he’s careful not to get ahead of himself. He understands that there is still work to be done.
“There are a lot of things that we can all improve on,” he said. “For me, it’s one vesus one marking. But as time goes by, I’m sure that I’ll get a better feel for it.”
For now, Borja is content to return to training and continue to work hard as Chivas USA prepare for a pivotal road match at Chicago on Saturday.
“I just have to keep working hard day to day,” said Borja. “Coach has told us that whoever is playing well will be in the first XI. I just want to keep working hard and try to keep getting minutes, and hopefully I take advantage of that.”