Armando Lozano, 29, began his career with Estoril in 2002 and after only seven appearances with them, embarked on a decade long period of seven different clubs in his native Spain. His one stint in La Liga occurred in 2008 with Levante as he played in 12 games for them.
Armando’s most notable spell was during his time with Barcelona B in the third and second division of Spain. Armando gained a prominent role within the team, starting 23 games in their 2012 campaign in the second division. He also traveled with the first team to preseason tours of the United States, playing scarce minutes in high-profile friendlies.
Knowing that the community within Barcelona FC from La Masia (the academy) to the first team is highly interconnected, Henry was probably aware of who Armando was and may have formed a relationship with him. Although he denies factoring into the administrative decisions of the Red Bulls organization, Henry was possibly inquired for an opinion from the coaching staff.
Ibra Sekagya played well after transferring mid-season in 2013, but his starting position alongside Olave is a decent bet but not necessarily a guarantee. Armando has the chance to impress in preseason and earn a starting spot.
If he does not become first choice, Armando will fill in for Olave during games played on turf surfaces and during cup competitions. As a right footer, Armando can swap between left or right center back without alternating the shape and play of the team. He will also provide further veteran mentoring for 18 year old Matt Miazga.
As a Spaniard, Armando represents a “sexy” signing. Since Spain became double-European and World Cup champions, a trend developed of believing Spanish players to be of superior passing technique. This trend, although not hard to believe, cannot be universally applied to all Spaniards, so time will reveal what type of playing style Armando excels in.
At the bare minimum as a foreign center back signing, he will have to play more than Digao and perform to similar levels to Holgersson, who was an unfortunate cap casualty. With the recent trade to Toronto for Richard Eckersley, who is somewhat proven in MLS and capable of playing center back, Armando will have more competition for time.
The ultimate question is how costly is he toward the salary budget? If Holgersson was a cap casualty, then a legitimate assumption is that Armando is approximately half the price of the Swedish defender or at worst, two-thirds of the salary. How Armando performs relative to his listed salary from MLS player’s union in mid-season will answer this important question.