That tally is good enough to place the Revs in the top-half of all MLS teams (ninth our of 19 teams), but its potent attack just got a lot more dangerous.
The Revs signed Jerry Bengtson on Thursday. The Honduran international is already practicing with the team. He'll be eligible to play once he receives his U.S. P-1 Visa, and the Revs obtain his International Transfer Certificate.
He joins New England as a designated player, becoming the third player in Revs' history to have that distinction (captain Shalrie Joseph and castoff Milton Caraglio are the others).
"We're very pleased that we've added Jerry to our squad," Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. "He is very well-known within CONCACAF and has been a reliable, consistent scorer for both club and country. We're looking forward to getting him integrated into our system as quickly as possible and to getting him out on the field in MLS games."
Bengtson is a proven goal scorer in his country, and he has the pedigree to succeed in Major League Soccer. The Revs signed the 25-year-old striker on a transfer from Honduran power CD Motagua. That club counts former MLS MVP Amado Guevara and Italian Serie A veteran (and one-time Revs target) Julio Cesar de Leon as current players. He won a league championship with Motagua in 2010 and is the three-time scoring champion in La Liga Nacional de Honduras (first division). He has also played 22 games for his country, scoring eight goals at the international level.
Many observers of the Honduran game think Bengtson is ready to walk in the footsteps of his legendary compatriots and teammates, but most Revs fans will settle for another genuine goal scorer. His career statistics put him among the best to play in Honduras in recent years, highlighted by the 15 goals he notched in the 2011 Clausura season – the highest single-season total since another Honduran legend, Carlos Pavon, did it in 2007.
Bengtson could make his Revs debut in the next week or two, depending on when his paperwork is finalized. He will play for Honduras at the 2012 Summer Olympics later this month, and he should be fit and sharp when he returns in August for New England's playoff push.
New England is just over six months into the Jay Heaps era, but it has already shown that it can put teams under pressure and score against some of the toughest opposition MLS has to offer. Striker Saer Sene has eight goals in 15 games so far in his impressive debut season. Bengtson's arrival will not only ease Sene's scoring burden, but also push the high-scoring Frenchman to work hard to defend his spot in the starting lineup. Bengtson should push Blake Brettschneider, Diego Fagundez, Fernando Cardenas and Jose Moreno down Heaps' pecking order.
Last offseason, New England talked about taking a new approach to scouting and acquiring foreign talent. Those structures and procedures have been in place for a few months, and Bengtson is among the first acquisitions under that new system. The Revs have made a significant investment in signing the Honduran, and the club hopes it will pay off. Honduran media outlets reported he signed a four-year deal with the Revs. It should keep the him with the club through his peak years and possibly beyond.
Photo via New England Revolution