It's been a few years since the Revolution have had a proven goal scorer. Jerry Bengtson appears to have changed that.
Bengtson scored in last Saturday's 1-0 season-opening victory at Chicago, heading in a looping cross from Kelyn Rowe early in the second half. Though the goal was only the third of Bengtson's Revolution career, the team is expecting many more.
After moving from his native Honduras to New England on a designated player's contract, Bengtson only showed his skills is flashes last year. He scored in his debut, a 2-0 victory over New York July 8, and again six weeks later against Columbus.
There is always an adjustment period for international players when they move to a new league and country. Bengtson also was away from the Revolution during the Summer Olympics, where he starred for the Honduran national team.
Bengtson scored three goals at the Olympics, helping Honduras reach the quarterfinals. He has since continued his scoring form, netting the winner for Honduras against the United States in a World Cup qualifier in February.
Revolution general manager Michael Burns has called Bengtson one of the "hottest" strikers currently in CONCACAF.
It's obvious why the Revolution have such high expectations for Bengtson. He puts himself into positions where he can connect with the ball and score. His goals aren't as glamorous as the volleys or the memorable playoff bicycle kick Taylor Twellman scored in 2007, but they still find their way into the back of the net.
After Twellman retired, the Revolution searched high and low for another goal scorer. Edgaras Jankauskas was signed in 2009, but he was too old and not used to the American style of play to adequately contribute. There were high hopes for rookie forward Zack Schilawski after he scored a hat trick in his second game with the team, but he proved to be an inconsistent scorer. In 2011, the Revolution signed Rajko Lekic, who appeared to have the perfect goal-scorer's resume. But Lekic never clicked and was not re-signed.
Bengtson probably won't score as frequently as Twellman did, but he does have that same poacher's instinct in the penalty area. He also has players around him who can combine effectively. That was evident last weekend when a sequence between Rowe and Juan Toja led to Bengtson being open at the back post for the goal.
Bengtson has capable strike partners, too. Saer Sene, the team's leading scorer last season who is rehabilitating a torn ACL, is expected to return in April. Diego Fagundez signed a multiyear contract extension Wednesday and is hungry to contribute.
Bengtson should get the start this weekend at Philadelphia, a team the Revolution have never beaten (0-4-3).
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