It is official: the New York Red Bulls formally announced that defender Armando has been released from his contract (he had one year remaining) and will not be with the club in 2015. He had started 16 games and made 22 caps in his stint with the club across all competitive platforms.
This news comes as no surprise to Red Bulls fans as Armando has not trained with the club at all in the offseason or in either training camp session in Florida. The front office has been very diplomatic in towing the line on Armando and his status with the club in the weeks leading up to the announcement today. It is not know whether a buy out of the remaining salary on his contract was reached or if New York will be paying him for this season in full.
Some fans were hoping that Armando came back, particularly because he could have potentially filled a void within the central defending role that the club has been looking to shore up in the offseason. However, I got this feeling that the new regime in the New York front office and the new coaching staff did not believe that Armando could contribute to help the club in 2015. The absence of Armando from offseason activities was noticeable and so this news basically confirms the inevitable for both sides in this situation.
In addition, when you consider that video surfaced of Armando playing over in Spain this week it was a foregone conclusion that his release was coming soon. The club announced the signings of three young players to round out their roster, so the trend of MLS 2.0 has hit New York in full force. This roster opens the season on Sunday in Kansas City with a very different look and feel to it, many new faces will wear the Red Bulls kit this season.
In my own personal view, I will miss Armando, he did have talent although his penchant for yellow cards and his overall inconsistency was very frustrating. I feel like he did not get a full and legitimate shot to play here especially with this new regime, but he also did himself a disservice by struggling at times when he was given opportunities to play under Mike Petke's coaching tenure.
In the end, he will get a chance to start over with a new club and the Red Bulls will continue to retool their roster under a new Sporting Director and a new coaching staff as they head into a highly anticipated 2015 season.