A rather unanticipated figure showed up at Gillette Stadium on Thursday: New England Revolution and Honduras forward Jerry Bengtson.
Bengtson expected to travel to Sandy, Utah with his international teammates for Tuesday's match against the United States. He instead parted ways with the Honduran delegation en route to Salt Lake City and returned to the Boston area on Thursday.
The club issued a brief statement on Friday to confirm Bengtson had returned to New England and had trained with his Revolution teammates on Thursday morning.
Revolution general manager Michael Burns said the Honduran federation previously asked for Bengtson's release for all three World Cup qualifiers scheduled in June. Those plans apparently changed between the second and third matches and resulted in Bengtson's return to New England.
“It was a coach's and a federation's decision to send Jerry back,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com. “He is not injured. The issue, frankly, is between Jerry, the Honduran coach [Luis Fernando Suárez] and the Honduran federation.”
Bengtson started and played 61 minutes in the 1-0 defeat at Costa Rica on June 7, but he did not feature in the 2-0 victory over Jamaica on Tuesday. The exact reasons for his departure remain somewhat murky, but Burns said those apparent conflicts will not carry over to Bengtson's relationship with the Revolution.
“There is no issue with us and Jerry, no issue on our end whatsoever,” Burns said.
An earlier report from Honduran publication Diez indicated that Bengtson had drawn the ire of the Honduran coaching staff and federation after questioning Suárez's decision to him on the bench for the Jamaica game.
Bengtson's status for Saturday's match at Vancouver (10 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) remains uncertain. The club did not address whether he traveled with his teammates to Canada in its statement, but the physical toll of his hectic schedule over the past few weeks likely rules him out of consideration for the visit to BC Place.