There was a time, not so long ago, when Armando Lozano was just another New York Red Bulls player enjoying the off-season, wearing his RBNY gear with pride:
He headed to back to New York for preseason with apparent enthusiasm...
On my way to New York! ✈️ ⚽️ the best is yet to come— Armando Lozano (@LozanoArmando16) January 21, 2015
Impresionante vista de Nueva York desde el The Standard Hotel! Aprovechando la tarde libre pic.twitter.com/oRKW4MCLg2— Armando Lozano (@LozanoArmando16) January 22, 2015
...Armando might actually have a bit of a coat problem...
Un poco de Brooklyn! pic.twitter.com/bpB4zURe3W— Armando Lozano (@LozanoArmando16) January 25, 2015
...and then the Red Bulls signed three center backs in one day, and we learned Armando was not in preseason training. And his squad number (5) was given to Mike Grella. Still, he seemed to be keeping his spirits up despite being alone in New York. He found a new coat to model and offered another 140-character snippet of optimism to the world.
If everything is dark, turn on the light! The ball is my friend! Happy Sunday everybody!! pic.twitter.com/S0Om1A8Mqp— Armando Lozano (@LozanoArmando16) February 1, 2015
But the situation cannot be good. On January 25, Armando was the only central defender RBNY had under contract who wasn't not-on-trial with Leipzig in Qatar. Scarcely 10 days later, head coach Jesse Marsch is apparently confused about a tactical role for the player, or even an appropriate pronoun to use when discussing
Armando, we’re trying to figure out if it fits, how it fits, and if it doesn’t, what his next opportunity might be," said Marsch. "It’s obviously not quite the same level as what we went through with (Tim) Cahill, but I think we’re trying to help him figure out what it would be like to be here, but also what other opportunities might be out there for him
This is not good. No wonder Armando abandoned his superlative coat game and sunny demeanor:
Believe in yourself and one day the rest would have no choice but to believe in you pic.twitter.com/9Fdc3XU1Vn— Armando Lozano (@LozanoArmando16) February 3, 2015
If we know anything about Armando, it is that he is not happy without a coat. And Marsch's ominous comparison of the defender's situation at the club to the recently-concluded Tim Cahill saga is not encouraging: it suggests both player and team want to part ways.
So what's the hold up? RBNY now has four center backs under contract and in training camp, and is reportedly pondering finding room for a fifth - Ibrahim Sekagya. Six central defenders seems excessive, but the team knew Armando was on the roster when it started over-compensating for a lack of depth in the middle of defense.
It's time to reunite Armando with the team or let him go, RBNY.