FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jerry Bengtson won’t soon forget his Olympic experience.
The 25-year-old forward was one of three overage players to represent Honduras at the recent Summer Games in London and although he’s now delighted to be back stateside with the New England Revolution, Bengtson has memories to last a lifetime.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Bengtson said through a translator after Tuesday morning’s training session with the Revolution. “My teammates and I tried to maximize our experience and we’re really happy that we went as far as we did in the competition.”
Bengtson – along with fellow MLSers Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City), Andy Najar (D.C. United) and Mario Martinez (Seattle Sounders FC) – helped guide Honduras to the quarterfinal round of the Olympics, where Los Catrachos suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to eventual silver medalist Brazil.
But the highlight of Honduras’ participation in the Summer Games was a famous 1-0 win over Spain, considered at the time to be the runaway favorite for the gold medal. Bengtson scored the decisive goal, burying an eight-minute header which ultimately eliminated the Spanish from the competition.
“It was a beautiful thing to score the goal and for the team to eliminate Spain,” said Bengtson. “We were totally committed and we had confidence. We knew that we could compete in those Games and move on to the (knockout) round and we were obviously looking for a medal.”
Although Honduras came up just short in its bid to reach the podium, Bengtson announced his presence on the world stage with three goals in the tournament, a haul which placed him into a tie for fourth in scoring. The goals were critical for Honduras and massive for Bengtson’s confidence, but the striker now wants that form to carry over into MLS.
“It was a great thing for me to score three goals [at the Olympics], but I’m sad that I haven’t been able to step right in and start scoring goals for New England,” said Bengtson, who has one goal in four appearances (one start) with the Revs. “But now that I’m back in with the team and working hard, that’s my goal, to come in and try to score goals for the Revolution.”
Bengtson has yet to fully settle in Foxborough, having made trips to Chicago, Miami and back home to Honduras in addition to his Olympic journey in Europe, all since signing with the Revs in early July. But with his international duty completed for the time being, Bengtson believes his adaptation in New England will progress rapidly in the coming weeks.
“It’s been difficult,” Bengtson admitted. “It’s been a lot of traveling and I’ve only had a few games here to get to know my teammates. But now we’re working really hard on getting our movements down together, understanding how they want me to play and how my teammates are playing around me. I expect to improve quickly now that I’m here and I can spend some quality time with the team.”