EDITORIAL – On Saturday night, the Colorado Rapids got one of their biggest wins in recent years, beating Real Salt Lake 5-0 to win the 2020 Rocky Mountain Cup. It was a big results for the team as a whole and for several individuals. One of those individuals was Braian Galván. The 19-year-old played 36 minutes (his most yet) and scored his first goal. He’s learning from mistakes and contributing to the team.
Braian Galván Learning and Becoming a Contributor
Galván joined the Rapids in July from Club Atlético Colón of Argentina. He was present for their unsuccessful MLS is Back tournament, playing one minute. Prior to Saturday, he’d played just 17 minutes in three substitute appearances. He’s yet to start a match in MLS.
New Surroundings and Social Media Mistakes:
His lack of playing time shouldn’t be alarming. He moved continents during a global pandemic. He’s learning English, a new team, a new league and a new country, all on the fly. That’s a lot for any teenager. When the Galvan deal was announced back in January, there was a understanding that his signing was a move for the future rather than immediate success this year. He’s making an effort. He just needs time.
“He’s an exciting dynamic attacking player. He works hard offensively, he works hard defensively,” Fraser told Last Word on Sports.
“He’s a very young kid that’s been having trouble since he was in Argentina with injuries and having trouble. He goes to training everyday 120%. He tried to learn. It’s very good for the team to have another player performing that way,” added teammate Diego Rubio.
Still, there’s been some mistakes and lessons learned, on and off the field, in his two and a half months in America. He had a dust up on Instagram with a supporters. Warning: There is profanity.
Perhaps there was a misunderstanding due to the language barrier. Perhaps he made the mistake of lashing out as a young person who’s still maturing while in the spotlight as a professional athlete.
In any case, the situation was resolved peacefully.
— Liam Hopkins (@lamae_shopkins) August 23, 2020
I’m not sure if the league, clubs, or teammates do social media education, but this was a teachable moment. One would hope he’ll think before he hits send going forward and work to better understand how to navigate the wild hinterland that is the internet comments section. Kei Kamara could teach him a few things about choosing when and who to pick fights with on social media.
Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser has been meticulous with several young players this year. He’s also been careful about coaching these players and helping them improve. For Galván going into Saturday, it was about fitting into his role and then understanding what a Robin Fraser team is and isn’t about.
“It’s taken him a little while to figure out where he fits within our team. He’s definitely one of these guys who’s on the cusp right now,” said Fraser.
Galván fit in as a right winger who was supposed to get on the ball and create chances, similar to Younes Namli in Colorado’s 4-3-3. This was effective as he helped create chances, see the game out, and ultimately get the final goal.
There was however a kerfuffle after the final whistle. RSL players and coaches weren’t happy with him “taunting” them at the end of the game with his tekkerz in the final third with the game already decided. They decided to confront Galván and others out of frustration, because of his actions and/or because they were pouty about getting smashed by their rivals.
Here’s what Galavan did. SL needs to grow up. pic.twitter.com/AAQzNZASr6
— Rapids Fan in SLC (@RapidsFanInSLC) September 13, 2020
If there was any malintent, Fraser nipped it in the bud immediately:
“When I spoke to him, he said there was no intent [to taunt RSL]. IT was just how he plays. At the end of the day, we’re not about that. We’re about a performance, who we are as a group, and doing everything with integrity. However it was interpreted, however it looked, it’s been discussed.”
Last Word: Turning the Corner?
The Pids are hoping that winning the Rocky Mountain Cup will be a stepping stone to making the playoffs. They’re also hoping that it’s a jumping off point for several players, the Argentine included.
It was his longest and best performance of the year. Scoring a goal had to be a huge confidence boost. The team needs to continue to improve. Galván and others need to keep doing what they’ve been doing and getting results.
He’s settled in Denver, with the team, and a positional role within the team. He’s made some mistakes and had some teachable moments. He’s now shown the proof of concept that got the Rapids interested in signing him.
All that left is to contribute more sigificantly and help this club make the playoffs.
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) September 13, 2020