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Chivas USA Notebook: Bornstein looks to rebound and Kljestan seeks leadership role

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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."


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.


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. 


  1. I constently say Bornstein is not international quality but I like him in MLS. I would love to see him go overseas but can’t imagine a team interested in him. Kljestan is a different story. He has the skills to play at a high level but doesn’t understand how much work is neeeded to stay there. Both have a lot to prove and should shine in the MLS thius year.

  2. Jonathan, you are not good enough to play for the USMNT right now. Sorry dude. Keep trying really hard but effort and regret aren’t enough to get you through a World Cup. You are a good player for your club and that is ok.

    Sacha, I don’t care who the captain of Chivas USA is. I don’t care who the captain is of any club or country. It is totally irrelevant. That’s nice though that wearing an armband during games makes you feel better about yourself.

  3. I love it when players tell the coach they deserve to be the captain. Only in America. That’s like John Obi Mikel saying he should captain Chelsea.

  4. Good point. It also helps that he no longer has Preki to keep playing him while he sucks. In essence, he has to prove himself to Martin Vasquez.

  5. Sorry Issa, but Razov is still recovering from injury. You left out recent signing Osael Romero, who will be starting. Also, Thornton is hurt again.

  6. It is easy to put Bornstein down, but if you look at the entire play, you will see that he should not have been put in that position. If the other players did their part, then Bornstein would not have had to react. He was intially positioned well, but then a bad cover by another player left Bornstein vulnerable. What they have to know is that at this level, the these players are known for acting and taking falls. I would like to see more cards given out to players who act. This is the part of the game I dislike – not Bornstein’s play.

  7. Yup, Isaac, you’re spot on with that.

    Belief/Confidence is really important for this guy, I think. Every baller plays better when they’re ‘on a roll’ but Sacha REALLY can shine with his passing and vision when he’s ‘on’ versus when he’s ‘off’.


  8. For all those who are saying that Kljestan is “full of himself” at least he’s displaying the belief in himself that he clearly had loads of back in 2008.

  9. The thought that all this MLS talk could be in vain if there is a work stoppage makes me very sad. I’m looking forward to this season.

  10. ———————Razov—–Galindo—————-





    Put Kljestan in the Pirlo role deep in midfield or in the Kaka role right behind the forward and I think he’ll do well. When he’s given the freedom to float around the field, make his normal excellent runs off the ball, and create, he does pretty well. He has the energy and skill to play behind the forwards, but that tactical aptitude and maturity to play deep in midfield.

  11. I think Bornstein gets a lot of flak he doesn’t really deserve. MLS refs probably would have let that pull down slide, and when Bornstein’s only experience paying with a proper ref has been in international friendlies, he’s going to have difficulty adjusting. Bornstein does have to a lot to improve on, but here’s one Yank who fully thinks he’s capable of doing so.

  12. Detest….this is just a sport dude….not real life….which you need to get one….a life that is….

    Wow how sad….you need to grow up….

  13. Played with and against a couple of Fresno Fuego players. Hope they did well. One on my team was a good player but a real waste of space as a human and teammate.

  14. I hate KLJESTAN!!! he’s so full of himself hes always talking about being a leader and blah blah

    if he worried about how he played rather than being a leader and in the spot-light he’d prolly be pretty good

  15. You know for a guy that I constantly bitch about when it comes to CAPS and playing ability, I still root for the guy. All Ive ever heard of Johnny B is that hes a stand up guy.

    But let me be clear. He should not be on the plane to South Africa, even though we all know Bunker Bob has his ticket already printed. He’s to much of a liability now and that last game proved it. But this yank is still rooting for him to improve.

  16. Kljestan as captain? Wasn’t he rather, how shall I say, “unmotivated” last year as a result of his contract dispute with MLS?

  17. Why Can’t he linger? “Oh, it was just one game.” Is that really the kind of language we need to hear from the defender that keeps getting stupid penalties? How about improvement, learning? Oh right, you don’t need to, they’ll always be another game… as long as Bob is coaching.

  18. I detest both Bornstein and Sasah… until they prove to me that their football acumen is above that of a 13 year old youth player, I will continue to depsise them as football players. Thank you, that is all

  19. CUSA STH here.

    Went to Fresno to see the game. Not impressed. I don’t think Sacha has done enought to warrant even consideration to be the team captain. John B is more worthy for his dedication to the team. Sacha is all about himself. He knows it too.

    I’m embarrassed that Kjelstan is going to be wearing the armband.

    Vasquez has always been a player’s coach and has penchant for being lax on discipline is what raised some eyeborws out here in Cali.

    I hope Sacha earns the armband rather than have it rewarded to him for being there since 2006.

    In the meantime, Carey Talley or Zack Thornton deserve the band.

    Just my two cents.

    As for the game against Fresno, not too impressive.

    Braun looks like he has regressed from his already limited ability. Galindo looked sharp but got hurt again.

    CUSA has its eye on a few Central Americans and is pushing for a boost in the attack and attendance with the Soccer By Ives-ignored signing of Osael Romero. The Salvadoran is being hailed as the next Mauricio Cienfuegos.

  20. Even though I like to give both of these guys alot of crap, it is good to see them expressing an interest in the armband.


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