Jerry Bengtson (#9) in action with Honduras during the 2011 Gold Cup. He scored three goals in the tournament. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Varying reports out of Honduras are stating that Los Catrachos striker Jerry Bengtson, a veteran of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and a member of the Honduran Olympic Squad, has signed for the New England Revolution and will be arriving for a medical this week. Some sources place the date of that examination to be Tuesday the 3rd.
Revolution officials have not confirmed or denied the veracity of the reports. They have stuck by the following line, which was already reported by Kyle McCarthy close to a week ago: "We have received verbal commitments from two mid-season targets, although we do not have any signed documents back from either yet."
Bengtson, 25, has been a full professional since 2007, when he made his debut with C.D. Vida in Honduras. He went on to score 36 goals in 81 appearances (all league, I believe) for Vida before moving to Motagua in 2011, where he has since racked up 26 goals in 54 appearances. Bengtson was the Honduran league top goalscorer for three seasons running, from the 2009-10 Clausura to the 2010-11 Clausura.
For the national team, Bengtson made his debut in 2010 and has gone on to make 22 appearances, scoring 8 goals. Among those goals are a brace against Grenada in the 2011 Gold Cup and another against Costa Rica in the same tournament.
If this is real, it seems likely that he's going to make DP money. This transfer could arguably be seen as analogous to Houston's recent acquisition of Oscar Boniek Garcia, another young and exciting talent with a DP contract out of Honduras. People I've been canvassing for opinion on Bengtson are saying he's a good talent, even going as far as to say he could make it in Europe.
Taking that as true, this is a great move. He'll immediately slot in as Saer Sene's strike partner, and with his 6'1" frame and apparent propensity to play as a classic center forward, that could be the start of a long and fruitful tandem. Alternatively, he could be the lone striker in the 4-2-3-1 that Jay Heaps tried out last week, and he offers considerably more goalscoring potential than a Blake Brettschneider.
Again, assuming this is true, one could easily make the leap that this is a death knell for Jose Moreno's New England career. The Revs still have two more roster slots available (one if the other "mid-season target" is signed), so they have the space to keep Pepe, but it doesn't seem logical to pay a third-string striker the kind of money he earns, especially when he's constantly injured and doesn't seem to have the versatility to play out wide or in midfield.
There are possible dangers here. Most of the goals I've seen through a small sample size of youtube clips would suggest that Bengtson has gotten lucky with a lot of his goals, capitalizing on egregiously poor defending and a low standard of play. Furthermore, his relationship with Motagua this season soured because, after leading the league in scoring three times, he scored just two goals last season (the 2011-2012 apertura, I believe). And you have to consider that he's been playing in Honduras' Liga Nacional, a level below MLS, to be sure.
Still, it looks far more positive than negative. He's older than Milton Caraglio, but doesn't have the injury history, and doesn't appear to be a loan signing (Honduras reports keep talking about a four-year deal). He's still young enough to be an impact player in his prime, rather than an aging shell signed more for tickets than goals. If this signing happens, I'll be happy with it.
We'll have more as news breaks. For now, here are some highlights: