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LA Galaxy 2022 Player Postmortem: Rayan Raveloson

Malagasy midfielder was a roster casualty midseason.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rayan Raveloson returned for his second season with the LA Galaxy in 2022. After being a surprise attacking weapon upon his arrival in 2021, the midfielder was given a new role to begin this season, as more of a defensive midfielder, something he had previously played in his career in France.

On paper, it made sense. With Jonathan dos Santos gone, LA needed a defensive midfielder, and with Raveloson and newcomer Mark Delgado able to play capably in a two-way role, Greg Vanney figured they could play that role, hopefully alternating defensive duties, and providing a platform for an attacking midfielder to press forward and provide service to the forward line.

In reality, it was a bit rocky. Raveloson is fine as a defensive-minded midfielder. He’s certainly MLS quality, and while he’s not going to light the world on fire, he can do a job at that role.

At the same time, after the Galaxy got off to a good start, they sagged midseason. Part of that was it just wasn’t clicking, including in midfield. The attacking midfielder just wasn’t providing the service, and Raveloson’s attacking skills were blunted by playing further back on the field. With the team struggling ahead of the summer transfer window, Vanney started pushing Raveloson higher up and looked for an upgrade at the defensive midfielder position.

Here are Raveloson’s statistics with the Galaxy in 2022:

Rayan Raveloson LA Galaxy 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 22 21 1,784 3 4 33 9 4 0
U.S. Open Cup 4 2 222 0 0 4 3 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 26 23 2,006 3 4 37 12 4 0

That tweak worked. For the final month of his tenure at the club, Raveloson had three goals and an assist, the majority of his attacking output on the season. Raveloson is not a playmaker, he won’t provide service to Chicharito on a regular basis, but he will make the smart runs to score goals. From a midfield perspective, it’s a worthy role and one that can help make space for the other attackers, as the marauding midfielder makes the late runs to get in scoring positions.

This was Raveloson’s best game of the season, the big home win over CF Montreal in July, when he scored a brace in the second half.

Raveloson played with new defensive midfielder Gastón Brugman for several games, but the Malagasy international ended up being a roster casualty when the club signed Riqui Puig, with international roster slots and finances a concern. They sold him to French club Auxerre in early August, the transfer fee reported to be $1.78 million with the potential for it to rise above $2 million in add-ons. Truthfully, I think Raveloson could have fit with the Galaxy lineup even with Puig and Brugman in it, but he was realistically the only Galaxy midfielder who could be sold, quickly, and for a decent amount. I don’t know if he was looking to return to France, but he’s settled in well back in Ligue 1, making 13 league appearances so far this season, including eight starts, while playing in several different roles there.

Considering he was not a household name, I think Raveloson was a pleasant surprise in his time with the Galaxy. While his exploits as a scoring midfielder were virtually unknown before he arrived, that was by far his best role and he was by and large good for LA while he was on the team. At the same time, it can’t be denied that Puig’s arrival transformed the Galaxy. Puig and Raveloson did not play the same roles at all, but Puig was a force multiplier for the whole team, and Raveloson was merely...solid. Looking back, this is a roster swap the Galaxy would do 100 times out of 100, Puig ended up being far more effective with the Galaxy. It’s not Raveloson’s fault, he just didn’t have that impact, ultimately.

Still, he was a good pro in LA, and hopefully he continues to grow as a player in France and beyond.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.