Mere hours after Mike Burns indicated that the New England Revolution would be finalizing the transfer of two South American players today, the team announced this morning that they have signed Colombians John Lozano and Fernando Cardenas. Both will count as international players and will be added to the roster when their P-1 Visas and International Transfer Certificates have been processed.
Both players arrive in New England after playing last season with recently-relegated Colombian giants America de Cali. Lozano is a defender while Cardenas is expected to help the team in the attacking third as a midfielder/forward.
"Both John and Fernando have experience playing in Colombia's top division, both with and against some of CONCACAF's top club teams," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "Lozano is a strong central defender who reads the game well, and Cárdenas is a creative player who we believe has the tools to help us in the attacking half of the field. We expect that both players will have significant roles on our team this season."
Lozano, 27, began his career at Deportivo Pereira in Colombia, and was also invited to a trial in Buenos Aires with Boca Juniors, but asked to return home. Cardenas, 23, also began his career as a left-footed attacker with Deportivo Pereira before moving to America last season. He also saw time with Once Caldas in the 2010 Apertura and Copa Libertadores, and was loaned to Deportes Tolima in 2010 as well.
The signings aren't particularly impressive, but given the dearth of news lately it's good to hear something. Lozano should be able to do a job in the back, although the Revolution's experience with Latin American defenders has been anything but successful in recent years (Coria, Badilla, etc.). In any case, it's good to have more than three dedicated defenders on the roster, and at 6' 180 lbs., Lozano can certainly bring the lumber and mix it up with physical MLS forwards.
As for Cardenas, the acquisition of a young, possibly up-and-coming attacker with a natural left foot is laudable in and of itself. However, I would expect that a midfielder/forward hybrid who is expected to help in the attack could score at a better rate than one goal every 13 2/3 matches, which is his record to-date. Granted, he is young and could continue to improve, but six goals and five assists in 82 appearances across all competitions is hardly electrifying.
Expect to see Cardenas used almost immediately, either as a second striker or on the left wing. There's no way he's bouncing Benny Feilhaber out of whatever spot Heaps decides to put him in, which should be in central midfield, and his status as a natural left-footer means that he should be the only guy putting any real pressure on Chris Tierney for the left-wing spot. Furthermore, if the Revs are unable to secure a natural left-back, there's a good chance Tierney will see more time in defense, leaving the left side wide-open for the Colombian newcomer. This is all assuming bigger and better signings aren't made before First Kick, of course.
Lozano will fight it out with Darrius Barnes and A.J. Soares for a spot in central defense. If Barnes gets bounced out to the left, then at this point Heaps can only really use Soares and Lozano in the middle. Either way, if some better defensive depth doesn't fall the Revolution's way soon, Lozano will become an immediate and important contributor in 2012.
Excited for the new signings? Upset? Have any insight on these players that we may not? Just excited to hear some news? Leave it in the comments below!