Borja pleased with goal, but happier to help team

California native scored first MLS goal in defeat of Columbus

CARSON, Calif. — Carlos Borja is only 22 years old, but he has already achieved an impressive number of MLS milestones. He has made five appearances for Chivas USA and has earned two starting nods. He has notched minutes in both the SuperLiga and the US Open Cup. He has already played at both right back and center back this season.

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On Saturday, he added yet another achievement to his resume: his first career goal.

Borja struck in the 53rd minute of Chivas USA’s 3-1 victory over Eastern Conference leader Columbus on Saturday when he got onto the end of a touch from Giancarlo Maldonado to slam the ball home into the lower right corner of the net.

“I’m excited for the first goal, but I’m just happy the team won,” said Borja after the match. “Individual goals always come after team goals. Tonight, we just played really well. We had possession of the ball all night, and my goal was a clear example of possession.”

Borja hails from Orange, Calif., which is just 30 miles east of the Home Depot Center. Needless to say, he often enjoys a large faction of supporters at Goats’ home games.

“All of my family was here,” Borja said. “We’re from California. I know what section they sit in. I saw them from far away and gave them a little signal [after the goal] that we have for each other.”

After appearing as a center back in the Red-and-White’s final SuperLiga game against Pachuca on July 21, Borja was shifted outside to right back for the Columbus game to fill in for the suspended Mariano Trujillo. It’s a position he knows well.

“Playing at right back gives you more freedom than center back, because you have to hold your position at center back,” said Borja. “[Chivas USA head coach] Martín [Vásquez] emphasizes [the outside backs] getting forward, getting into the attack and helping out the outside midfielders.”

Borja’s youthful energy and versatility will likely continue to play an important role for the Red-and-White as they try and fight their way into a playoff position. And just to be sure he’s ready for his next opportunity, he’s working on improving certain aspects of his game in the wake of his first MLS goal.

“I usually don’t take shots after practice, but I guess I’ll start taking more now,” he said with a smile.