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Once a Goat - Bornstein Falters in Mexico, Pearce Solid with Red Bulls

In our continuing series on former Goats, we talk about two players Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce who left Chivas USA at different times, are leading different type of careers but are held together by a Chivas USA and USMNT past.

Jonathan Bornstein with US National team
Jonathan Bornstein with US National team
Jim Rogash

You may recall that former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein left the Goats to play for UANL Tigres in Mexico at the end of the 2010 season. It has been hard for him to get a game in since moving to Monterrey, and a transfer to Atlante this past summer falling through didn't help. During the 2012 Apertura season, he only played in two games, for a club that finished the season in twelfth place and out of the playoffs. Tigres however has one of the best back lines in the Primera, with Mexican National Team players like Jorge Torres Nilo and Israel Jimenez having the inside track on the fullback positions. After winning the 2011 Apertura championship, Tigres will be playing in the new year in the CONCACAF Champions League.

On the international front, Bornstein's lack of playing time has really hurt him. The last time he turned out for the U.S. Men's National team was in the Gold Cup final in 2011, but has turned out for the 2010 World Cup. Whether more minutes at club level would give Bornstein a new chance with the national team or whether that ship has sailed since Bob Bradley is no longer the national team coach is unknown.

The problem with Bornstein, is like many players out there, he moved to a league with a higher reputation, and has been buried on the depth chart. The cautionary tale of Freddy Adu should warn players about the notion that the non-MLS grass is greener on the other side. Bornstein and Adu are thorns in the side of the American game abroad. Players are going to quickly realize that the MLS is the way to go.

Sadly, for Americans abroad, or perhaps promisingly for Bornstein, he was transfer-listed by Tigres last week. He has maintained he wants to find a way to make it work in Mexico, and will likely try to get a new team in Liga MX next season. Otherwise, a return to MLS may be in his future.

Changing gears, after the blockbuster trade in May, Heath Pearce left Chivas USA with a chance to play in the Big Apple (or at least Harrison, New Jersey) with the New York Red Bulls, while Chivas got Juan Agudelo. Playing for one of the glamour teams in MLS he's had to backstop a team with a potent attack. With the Red Bulls, Pearce played in 18 league games, had two goals, and no assists. He was named to the MLS All-Star Team and went to the playoffs, where they fell to D.C. United in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Although the Red Bulls had a good season, they've fired their General Manager, Head Coach, and cut a slew of players. Pearce will most likely be back in New York next season, but next year he has to look forward to a new coach, and a new system to blend into.

On the national team front, Pearce last got a look when he was with Chivas, when he was part of the January training camp and friendlies. He hasn't really been in the mix since, but it will be interesting to see if he gets another invitation this coming January, or if he will be part of the 2013 Gold Cup squad, where Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to take a less-than-full-strength group of players.

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