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Remembering the goal that made Jonathan Bornstein a national hero in two countries

U.S. Soccer is streaming the U.S. - Costa Rica match Tuesday beginning at 6:30 CT

Jonathan Bornstein (L) of the US celebra
Jonathan Bornstein celebrates after his stoppage time goal against Costa Rica in 2009.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

If you Google “Jonathan Bornstein goal,” you mainly get two results.

One is his most recent MLS goal, a header off a Djordje Mihailovic cross from earlier this season that secured a 1-1 draw in New England. It was his first goal in a Chicago Fire jersey.

The other is legendary. It lives in U.S. Soccer history as one of the all-time greats.

“Definitely one of the best moments of my career,” Bornstein told Hot Time in Old Town.

On October 14, 2009, the United States Men’s National Team was losing 2-1 to Costa Rica deep into stoppage time at RFK Stadium. It was the team’s final match of World Cup qualifying.

The U.S. had already qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 3-2 win in San Pedro Sula against Honduras a few days prior, but a point in this match would guarantee the Americans would finish atop the Concacaf Hex and win the qualifying group.

Robbie Rogers sent in a corner kick in the fifth minute of stoppage, and Bornstein floated into the box—unmarked—and headed it into the back of the net, securing a draw for the U.S. in the dying seconds of the match.

“That goal is probably top two, for sure, of goals that I scored in my career,” Bornstein said. “The other one being I scored the goal in the semi-finals for Queretaro that sent Queretaro to the first final of the history of the club. So, those two go hand-in-hand in my top two goals.”

The goal was emotional for non-soccer reasons, as well. USMNT teammate Charlie Davies was hospitalized after a serious car crash the day before the match.

“It was a tough time,” Bornstein said. “Obviously, Charlie was fighting for his life, and we went into that game wanting to have a positive result for Charlie, for our brother who was fighting.”

Bornstein’s last second header, coupled with a 1-0 Honduras win over El Salvador, pushed Honduras into third place in the Hex, giving that nation its first World Cup birth since 1982. Costa Rica dropped to fourth, and missed out on the World Cup after losing the intercontinental playoff against Uruguay a month later.

Even more than a decade later, Bornstein is still a national hero in Honduras.

“I still receive, to this day, lots of love from the Honduran people, especially on the anniversary of that date, I get quite a few messages from Honduran fans,” Bornstein said. “They’re always all positive. Sometimes I even get messages from Costa Rican fans on the other side that are not so positive, though!”

U.S. Soccer is re-airing the match tonight at 7 p.m. CT. At 6:30, Bornstein will take part in a special pre-match show with ESPN’s Adrian Healey and former U.S. National team player Stu Holden. You can watch the re-broadcast of the match on Facebook, YouTube, and ussoccer.com.