FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A wry smile enveloped Jerry Bengtson's face as he prepared to answer a question about scoring the goal that knocked Spain out of the Olympics.
Bengtson tallied three times during Honduras's surprising run to the quarterfinals in London, but his noticeable change in expression suggests the strike to send the pre-tournament favorites crashing out after group play may linger as the highlight of the experience.
“It was a beautiful thing to score that goal and for the team to eliminate Spain,” Bengtson told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “We were just totally committed. We had confidence. We knew we could compete in all of those games, move on to the knockout round and compete for a medal.”
Bengtson and his international teammates – including Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza, Seattle midfielder Mario Martínez and D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar – felt confident they could meet that objective. But a loss to Brazil ultimately ended their dreams in the last eight.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Bengtson said. “My teammates and I tried to maximize our experience in the competition. We are happy that we got as far as we did.”
The extra match represented just the first of a series of commitments that have limited Bengtson's time with New England since the Olympics concluded. Bengtson returned to Honduras to sort out visa paperwork on his way back from the UK, took the field for the Revs in a 1-0 defeat to Montreal, and then traveled to Miami Gardens, Fla., to score the opening goal in Honduras' 2-0 victory in a friendly with Argentine giants Boca Juniors last week.
The toll exacted by those demands limited Bengtson to a spot on the bench for the Revs' 2-1 defeat at Chicago on Saturday as Revolution coach Jay Heaps tried to ease the striker's transition back to his club and give him some time to find his footing with his teammates.
“It certainly has been difficult,” Bengtson said. “There has been a lot of traveling. I have only had three games here to get to know my teammates. Now that I am here, we are working really hard to get our movements down and understanding how they want me to play and how my teammates want to play around me. I'm expecting to improve quickly now that I am here and able to spend some quality time with the team.”
With his focus now fully trained on the Revolution, Bengtson said he hopes to transfer the positives of his Olympic experience to his MLS duties as he and his teammates try to turn around the recent run of poor form. The Revs are away to the Columbus Crew on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, streamed live on MLSsoccer.com).
“It was a great thing for me to score three goals at the Olympics, but I am sad that I haven't been able to step right in and start scoring goals with New England,” Bengtson said. “Now that I am back in with the team and working hard, my goal is to come in and score goals with the Revolution.”