A fan favorite will don gold for Nashville SC’s inaugural season in the United Soccer League.
Martim Galvao, who led the PDL team in points and captured the hearts of supporters during the 2017 season, will take the step up into the second tier. Galvao tallied seven goals and four assists for the PDL side, playing in 13 of 14 matches. Only one player saw more minutes than he did, and he displayed remarkable efficiency, scoring on half his shots.
The team announced Galvao’s signing Tuesday, following a cryptic tweet the day before.
Needless to say, the tweet spread like a spilled drink on Broadway once fans deciphered the picture.
The fans have reason to be excited. Watch this delicate, delicious dribbling.
And this cannon of a free kick.
What could Galvao offer the USL side? Well, it’s obviously a step up in prestige, so he may not see the minutes (77 per match) he enjoyed in 2017. But Galvao brings a dynamic approach to the midfield that could couple well with Lebo Moloto’s flair and the stable passing skills of Matt LaGrassa and Michael Reed. While the team has added ample depth in defense and in the back half of the midfield, there are fair questions about who will provide the goals. We’d wager that Galvao will get a shot to take some of those shots, if he proves himself in training against more experienced players.
At 5-9, 160, Galvao doesn’t blow anyone away with his size. But he displays flashy footwork, crisp technical skill and a fearless demeanor every attacking midfielder needs to possess. His dancing style keeps defenses on their heels and opens space for teammates.
On that note, the stats tell us that Galvao’s scoring triggers success for his team. Nashville SC was 6-1 in matches where he notched a goal or assist. Notably, the team outscored opponents 22-9 in those games. The team won only two of six matches when Galvao didn’t register a point and scored only 10 goals in those games.
The USL’s pace of play and level of technical precision will test Galvao’s finesse and durability. He won’t be able to outsmart defenders as easily as he did at his small college or at the PDL level. How will he handle the nights when defenders aren’t stymied by his creativity? What if he’s a second-choice player asked to come off the bench rather than receiving an everyday role? His ability to adjust will decide his success.
Galvao came to the States from Portugal to play college soccer for Pfeiffer University, a Division III school outside Charlotte, N.C. At Pfeiffer, he scored 22 goals and an eye-popping 45 assists, leading the nation in helpers in 2015 (20). During his senior year he rode a 10-game points streak to guide Pfeiffer to a 19-3 record and a Sweet 16 appearance.
Galvao played 67 collegiate matches and averaged one goal or assist in every match. So…yeah. He’s prolific. Here’s video proof.
There was a chance Galvao would be taken in last weekend’s MLS SuperDraft, and we speculate that’s the reason the signing wasn’t announced until now. But it didn’t happen. And that could be the MLS’s loss and Nashville’s gain.