The curious case of Jerry Bengtson has been a conundrum dogging coaches and fans alike since the start of the season. The injuries to Sene, Cisse and Imbongo, along with the odd ostracization of Chad Barrett meant that the attacking burden was leveled on the shoulders of the Revs Honduran DP and in some ways, tested the faith of the fans in coach, Jay Heaps. Unfortunately, as we have all been witnesses to, there is no other way to word the result of this situation than it being a failure. Jerry works hard, he chases loose balls, hassles defenders and tries hard to create space for the midfielders and fullbacks but at the end of the day, Jerry is a forward and a forward who doesn't score is bad at his job.
What the Revs have lacked this season (don't start counting yet!) to me, is goals. Bobby resolved the goalkeeper issue by taking us all by surprise with amazing performances; the defense has been stout -minus the occasional misplaced pass that turns into a red-level security alert-and the midfield seems to be finally solving their whole "have we played together before?" issue from earlier this year. The goals however, have dried up, if they ever rained in in the first place and Jerry has been the tour guide in the desert, as confused as the rest of us.
There are signs of life though, an oasis has recently appeared in the lineup and even though for now, the goals and wins might seem like a mirage to long-suffering fans; it seems to be very real. Juan Agudelo has emerged to be everything the team had hoped Jerry would be. He creates space, combines with the midfield a lot better and generally seems to know more about his teammates' movements than the Honduran even though he has spent less time with them.
This, along with Sene's recovery and Imbongo's emergence has seen Jerry benched and subbed out more than usual, which has some asking if the team has given up on Jerry too soon. But when Jay Heaps, who seems to be Jerry's biggest fan, can see -or is starting to see-the truth and benefits of the other forwards and their effectiveness compared to Jerry, I think at this point, the writing is on the wall and there is nothing wrong with it. For anyone else who thinks otherwise: re-watch the second goal from the recent against Toronto FC.
As soon as Sene got the ball on the left, Agudelo was already making his run into the box. After the nice nutmeg, Sene -with the help of a deflection/handball-puts the ball into the box, between two defenders and the goalkeeper. Agudelo already making the run, catches all three opponents by surprise and slots the ball into the back of the net and sealed the first back-to-back win of the season. Even before this, were it not for the keeper's fingertips and a defender's deflection, Fagundez would have assisted two goals to Agudelo.
The point of this is, that our new striker, does what Jerry has been lax in doing: he makes the right runs and he makes them consistently, then he puts away the chances that you expect him too. It might just be the honeymoon period of the trade or the ecstasy of the wins but it's nice to see chances in the box not being wasted due to low composure and indecisiveness and seeing the forwards attack defenses regularly rather than losing the ball and inviting pressure on the midfield.
While Jerry did start the last game and Heaps might still have some faith in him, it might be time to let him watch from the sideline, hopefully that motivates him to reach his potential but at least now, the team has options: fast, scoring, decisive options.
Also, how awesome is Diego Fagundez? Hoping he brings the red hair back!