FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Revolution made a major move to bolster their offense on Thursday by signing three-time Honduran scoring champion Jerry Bengtson, who will occupy one of the team’s designated player slots.
The 25-year-old forward, who led La Liga Nacional de Honduras in scoring for three straight campaigns (2010 Clausura, 2011 Apertura and 2011 Clausura campaigns), participated in his first official training session as a member of the team on Thursday and was all smiles afterward.
“I’m happy to be here,” Bengtson said through a translator. “I’m ready to work hard and to own the starting position and to help the team.”
Bengtson joins a team that could certainly use his help. Although the Revolution are currently unbeaten in their last four (1-0-3), they’ve spent the bulk of the first half of the season outside of the playoff picture. With the transfer window opening last week, the Revolution knew they had to make a move.
And so they did just that on Thursday. By adding a proven goal scorer (62 goals in 135 career games) to the mix, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps is not only optimistic about the potential Bengtson brings, but his propensity to put in the work.
“You want to get players who not only buy into what you’re doing, but also bring something special,” Heaps said after Thursday’s training session. “He’s got great size and great speed and a knack (for scoring) around the goal.”
It was Bengtson’s scoring abilities that first put him on the Revolution’s radar two years ago. After scoring 13 goals in the 2010 Clausura, the club was ready to sign to the striker, but the asking price was reportedly too steep at the time.
Fast forward two years later. Although Bengtson’s numbers dipped in the last two seasons (nine goals in the 2011 Clausura, and two goals in the 2012 Apertura), the Revolution believe that their newest find still has the skills and technique necessary to resume his remarkable goalscoring form between 2010-2011.
“We’re excited,” Heaps said. “The fact that it happened so quickly and that he’s here is great.”
Although he just arrived, Bengtson will be back on a plane in about two weeks. As a member of the Honduran Olympic Team, the 25-year-old forward will be en route to London for the Summer Olympics. The Honduran team plays its first game in Group D on Jul. 26 against Morocco.
Nevertheless, Bengtson advised that it was important to join his new teammates as soon as possible and get acclimated to his new surroundings.
“Fitness-wise, it’s going to help me out,” Bengtson said. “I didn’t get to train with the national team as much as I wanted to. Working here, and getting myself fit and ready will allow me to adapt to MLS.”
Meanwhile, Bengtson is aware of the challenges that await him. After spending his entire career in his native Honduras, the 6-1, 165 lbs. striker is ready to put in the effort required to succeed in a new country and, more specifically, a new league.
“MLS is a strong league,” Bengston said. “There’s a lot of strong players and I’m here to work hard. Hopefully, I’ll get to start on Sunday.”