PASADENA, Calif. - On a night when Freddy Adu most likely locked down a spot on the United States men’s team roster for the foreseeable future, Jonathan Bornstein may have played himself off it.
At least for the moment, Bornstein is America’s most disappointing soccer player after he was overmatched by just about every attacker Mexico threw his way in Saturday’s 4-2 loss in the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl.
Coming in for an injured Steven Cherundolo – who was arguably the United States’ most consistent player throughout the tournament – Bornstein could be held responsible for goals against not once, not twice but three times in the game.
Bornstein entered the match in the 11th minute with his team up one. Then it went up two 15 minutes later. Soon after he got burned up the field by Pablo Barrera and things drastically changed.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez had the ball deep in the midfield, and Bornstein was caught napping as Barrera rushed past him, receiving a beautiful pass and drilling the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Five minutes later, Gio Dos Santos got past the 26-year-old defender to take a shot that eventually led to Andrés Guardado’s equalizing goal.
In the second half, Barrera once again slipped behind Bornstein, who stepped over to play Dos Santos. Barrera drilled the ball toward the far post to give Mexico the lead and another Gold Cup championship.
“Losing Stevie hurts in that moment,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “Not having that experience at that point is a tough one.”
After playing well defensively recently, recording three straight clean sheets following an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama in the second game, it was a terrible break for the U.S. to see Cherundolo go down after rolling his ankle as he went to make a tackle four minutes in.
“Some injuries you can kick and the pain goes away in a few minutes, but with this the pain was progressing everywhere so that’s when you have to come out,” the Hannover captain said.
Instead, Cherundolo watched his teammate get dominated from the sideline.
"It's alway difficult to lose in a final regardless against who," he said. "I'm disappointed that we went up 2-0 and still ended up losing. It was a tough night for us."