AMSTERDAM -- Less than 30 minutes after the U.S. fell 2-1 here to the Netherlands on Wednesday, defender
Late in the first half with the game still scoreless, Bornstein grabbed
"I did grab him a little bit," Bornstein acknowledged. "I touched him, and he could have kept going and he fell. But they called it, so I guess it was a penalty."
"That's how soccer goes sometimes," Bornstein said. "Maybe another night that hits me and goes away from the goal. What are you going to do? I don't think I played my best, but you learn from it and hopefully bounce back and play better the next game."
Bornstein is only one of the U.S. options at left back, the position that causes the U.S. more concern than any other heading to the World Cup, but he'll have to sharpen his game at this level if he wants to be on the field when the U.S. opens its World Cup campaign against England on June 12.
But let's say one of the U.S.'s front-line defenders is injured in June; it wouldn't be surprising to see Bornstein out at left back on the big stage. And if that's the case, as U.S. coach
"Jonny's always going to compete very well," Bradley said after the game. "He's going to work hard, he's going to do very well in terms of footraces in the game and winning headers. We still talk to him a lot about sharpening up a little bit with the ball, seeing things a little bit faster. The play that leads to the PK, you see that all over, but when you're playing against very good attackers, if you grab a little bit like that and they go down it's going to get called. It's similar to the play in Slovakia. Those are things that we now need to learn from and take care of."
The U.S. was clearly hurt here by its four missing starters --
"That's what we're most disappointed about," said U.S. goalkeeper
So, yes, the 2-1 scoreline probably flattered the Americans. Yes, the U.S. let the Netherlands dominate possession. And yet, if it hadn't been for a couple of split-second moments involving Bornstein, these Yanks could have pulled out a result even when they weren't the better team. It's a trait that is typically associated with Germany, a trait that could prove useful in South Africa.