By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif.– Jonathan Bornstein understands that the last few months have seen him go from hero to villain, but the Chivas defender knows that the road won't be getting any easier as he tries to earn a spot on Bob Bradley's U.S. team for South Africa while also trying to lift Chivas USA to prominence.
The left back was widely criticized after his performance last week with the United States national team against the Netherlands which saw him give up a costly penalty that allowed the Dutch to take a lead that they never relinquished. Despite the criticism, the defender is not looking back as he prepares for the start of the season.
"Immediately afterward, I thought about (the game) and it affects me a little bit, but the more I think about it, the more I just realized that its just one game," said Bornstein. "If you play well one game or if you play bad, you've still got to move on and you can't linger on it too long."
A vital part of the team under former head coach Preki, the versatile defender looks set to see time at a number of defensive positions under Martin Vasquez while also being asked to contribute to the attack for the Rojiblancos. Having just recently returned to duty with Chivas USA after his lengthy spell with the national team, Bornstein is excited about the prospects for his development as the season approaches.
"I definitely feel like I have to improve. If you ever have a bad game, you always want to bounce back and have a better performance, even when you play well you want to be consistent. I really feel like I have something to prove in terms of getting back on track and playing well and just being sharp again as we go into the season," said Bornstein.
"If I want to be involved in those games leading up to the World Cup, then I need to perform for my club team."
KLJESTAN SEEKS CAPTAINCY
As Bornstein prepares to face the pressures of a new season with Chivas, his U.S. teammate Sacha Kljestan is also ready to accept an added responsibility for the team. Kljestan who recently returned to training with the club after his own time with the national team expressed wishes to make an immediate impact with Chivas.
"I've spoken to Martin and I think that Johnny Bornstein and I should be the captains of the team. We've been here for four years each and its our fifth year with Chivas, said Kljestan. "He's spoken to us as well and said that we both represent what Chivas is and I think that we'll be the leaders of this team."
Kljestan who recently wore the captain's armband in the club's recent friendly against PDL side Fresno Fuego appears likely to be the captain while Bornstein will mostly likely be his vice captain at the start of the season. Speaking to Chivas USA Head Coach Martin Vasquez, he reiterated that the two United States Internationals look set for an extended leadership role with the club.
"It's not finalized but its not a secret that I feel that these two guys have put themselves in a good position to be our leaders," said Vasquez. "We have high expectations from them and the rest of their teammates respond to them and look up to them. These are the qualities that any coach wants in his captain and co-captain."
Kljestan experienced a dip in form in 2009, which was the source of a great deal of criticism from his former coach Preki is looking to achieve the success that he had in 2008 when he was the club's golden boot winner with six goals. Although Kljestan experienced an erratic 2009 for the Los Angeles club playing primarily on the wing in Preki's offense, Kljestan will likely be the main play maker in the middle for Chivas USA under Vasquez's revamped attack.
"You don't want to just be some other guy on the team, I really want to be an important player on this team and I'm really excited to take on the role," said Kljestan. I'm hoping to be a number 10 player but also a guy that can track back on defense and run the engine of the offense."
Veteran midfielder Sacha Victorine announced his retirement after 10 seasons in MLS, the team announced on Wednesday.
A former UCLA standout, Victorine spent time with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Kansas City Wizards before joining Chivas USA in 2008. He finished his career with 32 goals and 41 assists in 242 career matches.
CHIVAS USA DEFEATS UCLA 5-0
On Wednesday, Chivas USA defeated UCLA 5-0 in one of club's last matches before the start of the season on March 26th. Chivas opened the scoring against the Bruins in the 23rd on a goal by second year midfielder Michael Lahoud. Chivas USA doubled the lead right before halftime with a goal by trialist Mario Padilla in the 45th.. However, the story of the second half was the play of forward Maykel Galindo and new addition, Osael Romero.
Maykel Galindo scored his first goal, a rainbow shot over the head of the UCLA keeper from an impressive through ball from Romero to put Chivas up 3-0 in the 54th. The Salvadoran International Romero assisted on Galindo's second strike in the 69th with pass that split the midfield and allowed Galindo to by pass the keeper for the score. The Chivas USA striker who has stated that he is feeling as healthy as he has in years, was able to put in a third in the 87th. Despite not scoring, the star of the match was Romero who looked threatening in midfield in only his second match for Chivas.