Absences of Bengtson, Sene force others to step up

First-choice strike partnership to miss midweek meeting with the Crew

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saer Sene’s breakout first season in MLS came to an abrupt end this past weekend when it was announced that the French striker has suffered a torn left ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2012 campaign.

Sene, who established himself as a contender for the league’s newcomer of the year award with 11 goals in 25 appearances, suffered the injury midway through the second half of the Revolution’s 3-3 draw with Chivas USA last Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution will undoubtedly miss Sene’s goal-scoring production, which accounts for one-third of the club’s entire scoring output (33 goals) for the season. Sene’s final tally of 11 goals marks the first time the Revs had a double-digit goal scorer since Taylor Twellman scored 16 goals in 2007.

“He’s our leading goal scorer, an offensive threat at all times,” said defender Darrius Barnes. “That’s what he does: he puts the ball in the back of the net. He’s a class finisher, so we’re definitely going to miss him.”

With Sene sidelined, midfielder Lee Nguyen is now the Revolution’s active leading scorer with five goals, followed by a group of players (Jerry Bengtson, Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas, Kelyn Rowe and Chris Tierney) with two goals apiece. Four other active players have registered single goals.

Bengtson, a prolific striker with the Honduras National Team, will be expected to shoulder much of the goal-scoring burden in Sene’s absence, but he’ll be unavailable for Wednesday night’s meeting with the Columbus Crew while on international duty. In his stead, players like Brettschneider, Diego Fagundez and Dimitry Imbongo will likely be afforded the opportunity to impress.

“There are guys that have to step up,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I think there’s going to be a fight for time on the offensive side. Obviously we lose Jerry to national team duty and Saer (to injury), so there’s a lot of opportunity to be had. When a player goes down, that’s your opportunity and your chance to go.”

It’s a message Heaps has communicated clearly to his players as they search for a way to put an end to their club-record 10-game winless run.

“Jay has been talking to us all about opportunities,” said Barnes. “Hopefully, somebody steps up and takes it.”