Bornstein shares his World Cup experience

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There was no contest when Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein was asked which moment was the most memorable from his Wold Cup experience in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Speaking to the news media at the Home Depot Center on Thursday, he instantly shot to Landon Donovan’s sliding on his stomach after a group-clinching goal against Algeria for a 1-0 win.


‘Easily, it’s that moment when Landon scores the goal against Algeria in the last minute of the game,’ he said. “It was like a roller coaster of emotions prior to that, and that moment just sort of capitalized everything.”

That was the first game Bornstein started in the World Cup. It was the first time he kept his game jersey, opting not to swap with a player on the other team. And it was the first time he became nervous in World Cup competition.

‘I was extremely happy,’ Bornstein said of the moment U.S. Coach Bob Bradley told him he would start. ‘Then it went from happiness to nerves.’

He received advice from teammates who also played on the 2006 team that helped ease that early tension.

Players said they cruised around the pitch in 2006 and didn’t put forth the amount of effort they needed to be successful.

‘More than anything, they didn’t want to leave with that disappointment, so they shared those experiences with us,’ Bornstein said. ‘I think it helped. Not being part of that team originally, we didn’t want to do the same things this time around.’

The cautionary tale served as motivation, Bornstein said. He said the group mentality was changed by his teammates’ speech.

There were other moments when Bornstein probably should have been nervous, but instead chose to enjoy the moment.

He met President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Biden gave Bornstein and his teammates a tour of the West Wing before inviting them to sit at his desk and on the couch in his office.

He had a beer with former President Clinton in South Africa.

‘One of the coolest things he said was we made him feel more American than he’s ever felt,’ Bornstein said.

While they were in South Africa, though, the U.S. players were checking the tone back home. Through the Internet, they saw fans packed in bars and reacting to goals.

‘To be honest some of the video brought tears to my eyes,’ he said. ‘It made me so happy that the United States is really understanding what’s going on and it’s finally growing. It’s kind of what we’ve been trying to prove for like 50 years.’

-- DeAntae Prince