DAVID SMITH - Thursday, October 15, 2009
Jonathan Bornstein just earned himself a thank-you note.
Throughout his career, it seems Carlos Pavon has done everything he can to keep Honduras out of the World Cup. If you are reading this entry then there's likely no need to recap his latest efforts from Saturday night since you've probably watched them on youtube again and again....and again.
Last night in El Salvador, he broke his trend and did everything he could to get Los Catrachos on the plane to South Africa. Facing a potential date with CONMEBOL's favorite playoff castaways Uruguay, who will still be seething from their failure to secure their own automatic qualification at home against Maradona's Argentina (which should be differentiated from that other Argentina team), Pavon came through with perhaps the most important goal of his life, bagging the 63rd minute winner in San Salvador.
Unfortunately for Carlos, with Costa Rica beginning the evening sitting two points ahead of Honduras in the race for the last automatic qualification spot from CONCACAF and looking headed for an unprecedented 2-1 win against the USA up north in RFK stadium, his best just wasn't looking to be enough.
He needed some help.
In a last-minute twist which could only be written by an overpaid Hollywood script writer, Pavon's knight in shining amour, the much-maligned Jonathan Bornstein, nailed a free header in the last minute of injury time to bring the Stars & Stripes to a 2-2 score with the Ticos. When all the whistles blew the final round of this CONCACAF hex to a close, Honduras found themselves in third place, heading to their first World Cup Finals since 1982 (a good two years before Bornstein took his first breaths and several months before Pavon had reached his ninth birthday).
Furthermore, with their collapse Costa Rica drop to fourth place thanks to a poor goal differential, leaving their hopes for a third consecutive appearance at the big dance hinging on a two-game playoff with Uruguay in November.
I'd just like to point out that Bornstein is 5'9".
(That's if you believe the US Soccer website's data, which seems questionable since the 5'7" Paco Torres clearly had a few inches on Bornstein as judged by their proximity in post-game celebrations...check your TiVo)
Yes, the Ticos now have to play two-time champions Uruguay in the playoff because they lost their lead to an injury-time header by a 5'6" left back.
I'd say that suddenly makes Pavon's recent failings look relatively inconsequential in comparison.
Carlos, after you enjoy your hero's breakfast on Thursday morning and check in at the airport on your way back home to be honored with your teammates in what your president has declared to be a national holiday, I suggest you stop in the gift shop and grab a thank you card for the little guy who spared you a lifetime of notoriety.