FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England striker Jerry Bengtson reportedly concluded his trip to Honduras with a somewhat stunning revelation to the local press: he did not want to return to MLS or the Revolution next season.
“I do not want to continue with the team,” Bengtson told Diez.hn. “I have talked with the team. … There are options, but nothing is certain.”
Bengtson may imagine his future elsewhere if those comments are true, but his exit is by no means guaranteed. MLS and the Revolution hold a contractual option to retain his services through 2014, according to league sources. It is unlikely the club or the league would permit him to depart on a free transfer during a World Cup year.
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Revolution general manager Michael Burns said he and coach Jay Heaps met with Bengtson to discuss the comments when he returned to Gillette Stadium on Thursday after joining Honduras for their final two World Cup qualifiers. Burns said he is not overly concerned with the reports after discussing the situation with his striker.
“We spoke to Jerry today about the comments,” Burns told MLSsoccer.com. “I don't want to speak for Jerry, but I think some of it was probably taken out of context. I think the timing of it was probably not ideal for either side. For Jerry and for all of our players, these discussions will remain private. We'll have those discussions about his future at the end of the year when the time is more appropriate.”
For the moment, Bengtson and the Revs must keep their focus trained squarely upon pursuing the club's first postseason berth since 2009. The prolific international marksman has scored just one time for the Revs this season, but Heaps backed him to contribute over the final two matches of the campaign after a pair of useful substitute appearances prior to his departure.
“Any time he goes with Honduras, he gets his confidence back,” Heaps said on Wednesday morning before the report from Honduras emerged. “He's a goalscorer. When you're not scoring goals and you're having a tough time doing the little things in the game, you start to implode upon yourself. When he is scoring goals, he becomes a much different player. The last time he went away and he was gone for an extended period of time, he got his confidence back and it showed when he joined us.”