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Hammer Blow U.S. Open Cup Loss Shatters Jonathan Bornstein's Last Chivas USA Season

Hammer Blow U.S. Open Cup Loss Shatters Jonathan Bornstein's Last Chivas USA Season

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Jonathan Bornstein has seen his fair share of disappointment in his short career -- a Confederations Cup final loss with the United States, an extra time Round of 16 defeat in the World Cup, four consecutive first-round MLS playoff exits with Chivas USA.

But the hammer blow of Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup semifinal defeat to Seattle Sounders FC just might sting the most out of the bunch.

The 25-year-old has already announced his impending departure to Mexico's Tigres following the 2010 MLS season. For the Chivas USA captain, Wednesday represented one last chance to salvage a dismal season and leave his hometown club on a high note.

Instead, an energetic and eager Seattle side heavily outplayed the Goats in a 3-1 win.

"We had a good opportunity in front of us to go to our first finals of an Open Cup, our first final of any tournament, and giving up three goals and losing the game is not the way we wanted it to end," the U.S. international said after the match.

Visibly devastated, Bornstein gulped back tears and his voice cracked during the post-match interviews.

The left-sider has been with Chivas USA since his rookie year in 2006, one season after the club's expansion. Though Seattle will play in its second U.S. Open Cup final in only two years against the Columbus Crew on Oct. 5, the Goats have yet to reach a final in any competition.

Trailing off, Bornstein admitted the finality of the match. "It's probably the last Open Cup match I'll play in . . . at least for a while."

It's also likely the last knockout match he'll play in for Chivas USA unless he returns later in his career. Though he has yet to miss out on the playoffs in his MLS career, Bornstein's side faces an increasingly unlikely uphill struggle to qualify for the 2010 postseason.

On 22 points in MLS, the Goats would have to make up seven points on the San Jose Earthquakes; the California rival has a game in hand.

In contrast to the blindly bullish days of Preki, head coach Martin Vasquez acknowledged the sorry state of his Western Conference bottom dwellers.

"Where we are in league play, it would have been huge for our guys and our club to go to our first final," Vasquez said, staring at the floor. "We were putting all our marbles in tonight's game."

Even with a brutal end of the season impending, Vasquez refused to give up hope or throw his players under the bus.

"The way our guys played -- with urgency, with our style of play, with effort -- all that was there," the former U.S. and Mexican international said.

That effort will continue until the Goats can no longer mathematically make the playoffs.

Paulo Nagamura, free from the bandage a bloody head injury forced him to wear in the game, stated the team's playoff hopes boldly: "[As long as] we have a chance, we're going to believe it."

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