Jonathan Bornstein

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 29 : Jonathan Bornstein #12 of the United States during a pre-World Cup warm-up match against Turkey at Lincoln Financial Field on May 29, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Position: Left Back

Club: Chivas USA

Club Career

Jonathan Bornstein has one man to thank for his career as a left back – Bob Bradley.  The current US manager was in charge of Los Angeles’ Chivas USA in Bornstein’s rookie year (2006), and even though Bornstein had played striker in college, Bradley saw a fullback-in-waiting.  The first-year pro made more than a seamless transition to left back; he won MLS Rookie of the Year.  Over the next few years, Bornstein has proved his worth to the LA-based club by making the league Best XI in 2007 and filling in at center back and midfield when needed.

National Team History

Chivas’ standout defender made waves by scoring in his first international appearance, a 3-1 win over Denmark in 2007. (link – This also happened to be Bob Bradley’s managerial debut for the USMNT.).  Bornstein spent the rest of the 2007 international season as Bradley’s left back of choice, and though injuries forced him out for part of 2008, the manager trotted him back out for most USMNT games in 2009 to the exasperation of some US soccer pundits (link??) and many armchair midfielders.

Bornstein certainly has the pace and offensive skill necessary to be a fullback at the international level, and though he’s a bit slight compared to some of the more bullish outside backs, the biggest knock on Bornstein is his tendency for mental breakdowns.  Most recently, in a 2-1 loss to Holland in February 2010, Bornstein was the goat on both goals, giving up a penalty for the first and deflecting the second past helpless keeper Tim Howard.  This tendency may be the cause for his favorite manager’s propensity to start Carlos Bocanegra (who normally starts at center back) at left back when all the USMNT defenders are healthy.  Bornstein should still make the roster for South Africa, but he needs to use his head to enhance, not detract from, his physical gifts or the US could pay a costly price.

Official US Soccer Bio

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