Heaps thrilled for Bengtson, admits Revs need his goals
CHESTER, Pa. – There were plenty of things for New England coach Jay Heaps to do ahead of Sunday night's 2-1 defeat in Philadelphia, but he still took a few moments out of his day to monitor Jerry Bengtson's Olympic progress during the afternoon.
The Honduran striker made the time Heaps spent worthwhile by claiming his third goal in two outings to provide the decisive tally in the Catrachos' stunning 1-0 victory over Spain at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England.
Although Heaps said he did not watch the entire match, he did catch Bengtson's goal and lauded his continued precision in front of goal during group play.
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“It's good to see for him,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com after the Revs' defeat on Sunday night. “I'm really happy for him. He's a good kid.”
Heaps and the Revs could have ensured Bengtson's availability for the loss at PPL Park had they rejected Honduras' overtures to include him as one of their three over-age players in their Olympic squad.
Other clubs around the world – particularly prominent European sides seeking to protect their players after Euro 2012 – played that card to keep their charges out of a tournament comprising primarily under-23 players, but Heaps said the Revs simply couldn't stand in 25-year-old Bengtson's way as he chased his Olympic dream.
“[Bengtson is] exactly what we need right now: a couple of goals,” Heaps said on Friday. “We knew going in that [he could play in the Olympics] and we didn't want to limit the player. It was the club's choice at that point because he's the over-age player. I think the player needs it. You hate to limit anyone and he had dreams of being in the Olympics. It's great for him.”
Bengtson's collective and individual success could prolong his Olympics experience past Wednesday's final group game against Group D leaders Japan (noon ET). A draw or better in that match against the Japanese or a Morocco draw or loss to Spain in their match would see Honduras advance to a quarterfinal match set to take place on Saturday.