Bornstein, Kljestan get nod to US 30-man roster
Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan are headed to Princeton.
The Chivas USA co-captains were both named to the United States national team’s provisional 30-man roster on Tuesday, earning them a trip to the squad’s two-week training camp in New Jersey and a shot at going to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Kljestan and Bornstein will play in Chivas USA’s game against the Crew at Columbus on Saturday before hopping on a plane the following day. The camp opens on Monday, with the final 23-man roster deadline due June 1.
“It’s good to be part of that 30-man group,” Bornstein said. “There’s still some preparation to do as a group and that’s what we’re all looking forward to.”
Bornstein is one of nine defenders called into camp. The Los Alamitos, Calif. native made his debut with the USMNT in Jan. 2007 against Denmark, and has since made 29 appearances with the Red, White, and Blue, scoring two goals.
While he was a mainstay for the squad during World Cup qualifying, he has work to do to punch a ticket to South Africa.
“I need to be solid,” Bornstein said. “I need to play solid defense, stay consistent, and most of all, contribute to the group as best as I can.”
Kljestan had made 23 appearances for the national team since his debut against China in June 2007. The central midfielder has scored four international goals, including a hat trick against Sweden on in Jan. 2009.
“I had a little sense of relief after I found out,” Kljestan said. “The next two weeks are very important for me. I have to start with a good game in Columbus and follow that up with hard work for a couple of weeks to prove to the coaching staff that I can help the team on the field in South Africa.”
Kljestan fell out of favor with the USMNT during the second half of 2009, failing to make the squad that played the final four matches of World Cup qualifying at the end of the year.
“I know I’m one of the bubble guys,” Kljestan said. “I’m probably one of a few that are competing for one of the last midfield spots. So I have to go into camp and work really hard and be prepared to help the team.”
“But I feel very confident right now,” he continued. “I feel like I’m playing consistently and I feel I’m in a good soccer moment.”
Both Kljestan and Bornstein know USMNT head coach Bob Bradley very well, dating back to their days with Chivas USA in 2006.
“I’ve been playing for him since my rookie year,” Bornstein said of Bradley. “Every year that I’ve been a pro, I’ve played for him at least a few times. Most of all, he looks for guys who contribute to the group in a positive way and who raise the level every day.”
Bornstein and Kljestan have worked together closely this year as Chivas USA’s co-captains, even partnering up as roommates for road trips. That friendship will likely help the pair heading into Princeton.
“Whenever he’s in camp, it makes it a little bit easier,” Bornstein said of Kljestan. “We play for the same club team and we played against each other in high school. Growing up, we’ve been competitors as well as teammates. It’s nice to have him.”
Team USA will start its FIFA World Cup 2010 campaign against European giant England, currently ranked 8th in the world, in Rustenburg on June 12th.
“We have a little ways to go before the [England] game, but I’m sure everyone is eager,” Bornstein said. “But [the camp] will be the first time the group has been together in quite a while. We have to fine-tune some things.”