Carlos Borja makes his first start for Chivas USA
CARSON, Calif. -- Saturday was a big day for Carlos Borja.
The Chivas USA defender achieved a personal milestone in the match against Real Salt Lake, earning his first start since joining the Red-and-White on March 25 of this year.
“It was exciting,” said Borja after the game. “The coach gave me a huge opportunity to fill in and I tried to take full advantage of it.”
The 22-year-old Orange, Calif. native stepped into the lineup as a replacement for left back Jonathan Bornstein, who is away on National Team duty.
Borja played 90 minutes in the Goats’ 2-1 loss to Salt Lake. It was just his second appearance for the Chivas USA, having made his season debut as a substitute against San Jose on April 24.
“I was pretty excited walking out of the tunnel,” said Borja of Saturday night’s contest. “It’s unfortunate that the team didn’t get the result we were looking for.”
Borja provided steady cover on the left side of the Chivas USA defensive corps for most of the evening, although some of the blame for Real Salt Lake’s first-half goal may fall on the young defender.
“He did better in the second half than in the first,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. “But that happens when you’re nervous. It’s understandable. I thought, in the second half, he was able to help us out of the back and his positioning was good.”
Borja had been preparing for the left back job all week, working with center backs Dario Delgado and Michael Umana, and studying tape of Real Salt Lake.
“When Johnny [Bornstein] got called up, I knew that I would be one of the options we had,” said Borja. “During the week, I was working at that position. I just kept my mindset focused on studying the rival and trying to stay prepared.”
With Bornstein maybe gone for at least two more games, Borja will likely get another crack at the starting XI in the coming weeks. It’s an opportunity that he is excited to take advantage of.
“I work hard every day and I try to do what Coach [Vásquez] asks me [to do],” he said. “Hopefully it goes well and I get more consistent.”