He told Bengtson, “Look, you can take this afternoon, do a bike workout.”
But Bengtson wanted be out on the field, even if it was just for warmups or light passing drills.
“I decided to be with the team,” Bengtson said. “The motivation, instead of being on the bike or something else, I’d rather be with my teammates and be around the team.”
When he stepped into the locker room, the welcoming committee — goalie Matt Reis and defender Darrius Barnes — had the jokes ready.
Reis gave him the hardest time.
“You don’t do America like that,” he said.
Barnes asked for a jersey.
“I was just messing around with him, giving him a hard time, congratulating him, but in a teasing way,” Barnes said.
Then they went to work.
“He wanted to be with the group,” said Heaps, “and that showed me a lot about where he wants to be with this club when you have that kind of desire.”
Barnes trusts that Bengtson can manage the juggling act.
“He knows how to handle it,” Barnes said. “He knows how to balance both. He’s going and contributing with Honduras and then he’s bringing that level back and you can see it in practice even more than last year.
“He’s just got that confidence and he knows he’s going to score and I feel like if he continues to play at that high level, it will carry over when he plays for us as well. I don’t think it’ll be any lag or any letdown. I think he’s going to continue to play at a high level.
Even if he’s pulling double duty.
“I want to come here, show the player I am, score goals, obviously, but there’s a lot that goes into it,” Bengtson said. “It’s not going to be an easy season. But I’m always working hard.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.