When the New York Red Bulls let go of Markus Holgersson, they parted with arguably their most consistent defender. That made it all the more difficult for many to embrace the hiring of a lower table, second division bench player to take his place on the roster.
It seems some in the technical staff had their reservations as well, but so far, Armando has made a good first impression.
“I could tell you a couple of people on staff have not been fired because they talk very highly of him,” Petke told members of the press.
“That’s a joke, in a way.”
Petke, who is not normally the type to throw around empty compliments, gushed over his new defender. “He’s absolutely what we were looking for,” he said. “It’s only been eight days, not even, because he came a little late, [but] so far, he’s shown everything that we were hoping he would come in and do.
“Does that mean he’ll be a starter or continue to play like that or be a big player in this league? Only time will tell that.”
Armando came recommended from the Barcelona organization where he played three seasons alongside the B-team. Described as a hard-nosed, backline leader, Petke has already seen those traits in action during their first preseason trip to Florida.
“He has not only adapted well, but you can tell all the reports about his character and leadership ability have been very true,” he explained. “He’s fit in very nicely, guys have accepted him, he has fit into our environment and he’s a hard player, and we’re very happy to have him right now. And if he does continue to show for the duration of his contract what he’s shown so far in this short time, it’ll be a good experience for him in MLS and for us as well.”