Bornstein has mixed feelings in final appearance

Chivas USA captain plays well in loss, looks to future in Mexico

Jonathan Bornstein

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CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein played his 123rd and final regular-season MLS game on Saturday night, captaining the Goats in a 4–1 loss to the visiting Chicago Fire.

The Los Alamitos, Calif., native waves goodbye after five years in the league that included the 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year award and three MLS All-Star selections (2007 to 2009).

“It’s a bunch of mixed feelings,” Bornstein told reporters after the match. “I’m disappointed with the loss and the way it all ended. But I’m also happy that all my friends and family were out there. It was crazy how many people have been supporting this team and me personally throughout the years. I’m very thankful for that. I’m excited for what’s ahead, but I’ll enjoy the moment here for right now and go from there.”

Bornstein played 85 minutes on Saturday night before subbing off the field to booming applause from the 14,000 fans in attendance at the Home Depot Center. He was replaced by 18-year-old rookie Bryan de la Fuente – who was making his first-ever professional appearance – in a swap that was representative of Bornstein passing the torch to a new generation of Goats.

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“I don’t know if it was my best game,” Bornstein admitted. “There were a lot of things going through my head. The whole night was different than most nights. It was a little distracting, but it was a good game. It was fun and I had a good time. I just tried to make the best of it after we were losing.”

Bornstein has had a big year. After helping the United States qualify for the 2010 World Cup, he was named to the official roster for the tournament itself and travelled to South Africa to compete. Upon his return, he announced a transfer to Mexican First Division side Tigres UANL to commence at the start of the 2011 season.

“It’s been a good year and it’s been a good run here at Chivas USA,” he said. “They gave me my chance as a professional player and I’m very thankful for that. I’ve tried to do as best as I could for the club. I’ve had a little bit of time [to think about the past year] with my family. We talk about the good moments of the year and the not-so-good ones, and what lies ahead.”

Bornstein’s MLS career came to an end in the same game as Chicago Fire and US national team legend Brian McBride. McBride, who turned 38 in June, went out in true style – opening the scoring in Saturday’s match with a cheeky heel-flick past Zach Thornton that’s sure to make the highlight reels on Monday.

“That was pretty amazing,” Bornstein said of the goal. “I thought it was a great way for him to finish his career. He’s scored a lot of goals like that. It was icing on the cake for him and I’m extremely proud of him for doing that. Hopefully one day I can say that I had as illustrious a career as he has had.”

With Chivas USA’s season now over, Bornstein will take some time to relax before beginning to plan for his move south of the Border.

“I want to take a little bit of time to just get away from everything,” he said. “I have to figure out a lot of stuff in terms of what’s going to be coming with me to Mexico. That’s going to be the immediate future. From there, I’ll be going down to Mexico and learning the language and the stadium and the lifestyle and finding a place to live; just the little things.”

Bornstein will also have his sights set on a return to the national team for the squad’s friendly against South Africa in Cape Town in November. It would be his first cap with the USMNT since returning from the 2010 World Cup.

“Any time you get a chance to represent the nation, you want to,” he said. “South Africa is as good a place as any to do that. We didn’t get to play in Cape Town any time that we’ve been there, so it would be a good experience. We have to see what list comes out.”

Until then, Bornstein will soak in his final moments at Chivas USA and think back on five successful years with the Red-and-White.

It’s been great having you, Jonny B. Good luck, wherever the future takes you.

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