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2022 Season Review: Braian Galván

The Argentine suffered a brutal injury in preseason and had to watch every match from the sidelines

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Minnesota United FC Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

This is part of a series of individual player reviews by Joseph Samelson. You can follow him on Twitter @jspsam and read his work elsewhere at josephsamelson.com.

Role: Wing Back, Attacking Midfielder

Squad Status: Injured

Season in a Sentence: Colorado expected that Galván would be a central contributor after breaking out in 2021, but the Argentine suffered a brutal injury in preseason and had to watch every match from the sidelines in 2022.

Grade: Incomplete

The injury bug swept through the Colorado Rapids roster this year, and Braian Galván became the first of three first team players to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in 2022. The dynamic Argentine’s particular case was devastating, as doctors also had to repair damage to his medial and lateral meniscus in his right knee—the same knee that required surgery during his previous stint with CA Colón in Argentina.

His ensuing absence was a brutal blow to a Rapids attack that expected to rely heavily on Galván’s talents through the course of the 2022 season. Galván earned a healthy dose of minutes at left wing back following Sam Vines’ departure to Royal Antwerp during 2021, but the youngster’s flair and talent on the ball offered him a few opportunities to take more advanced roles. Rapids General Manager Pádraig Smith indicated in January that the club planned to incorporate the Argentine in an attacking midfield role, and it’s hard to shake the thought that Colorado’s season could’ve panned out differently had Galván been available.

Without Galván, the Rapids were forced to primarily rely on Jonathan Lewis and Michael Barrios in the attack, even through stretches where the pair of wingers went through bouts of poor form during the regular season. Sam Nicholson’s mid-season arrival did little to challenge the duo’s place in the Colorado’s lineups, and—aside from Diego Rubio—the Rapids’ attack continued to suffer. Even if Galván was forced to continue occupying a wing back role for 2022, the youngster would have offered a different look at a position where Lucas Esteves often struggled during the regular season.

Galván’s versatility should prove invaluable for Colorado in the future, assuming that he returns to his usual baseline during 2023. That’s still an open question, though—ACL injuries can frequently pose long-term issues for dynamic players like Galván, who rely on quick movements and sharp turns to create space. Assuming he completes his recovery without a hitch, the Rapids should benefit in spades next season.

Looking Forward

Despite his early injury, the Rapids didn’t hesitate to offer the then-21-year-old a three-year contract extension through the 2024 season, with a club-held option for 2025. Galván and his representatives finalized the terms of the deal with Colorado less than a month after the club announced the completion of his surgery, indicating that the team fully believes in his ability to recover and reach his potential.

He showed significant progress towards a return by joining the team for training throughout the final months of the regular season, and should become one of the club’s most exciting players to watch next year.