Toronto has added another new piece to their roster puzzle. Ryan Richter joins the club having been training with the team on a trial basis for nearly two weeks now. He also had a trial with D.C. United during the preseason but he just missed out on signing for the club.
Richter, a wide midfielder by trade, played last season in USL Pro where he was a key part of the Charleston Battery's title winning squad. For that team he played in a more attacking role showing his ability to play on both wings and contributing a couple of goals along with showing an ability to setup his team-mates.
Richter has been on the verge of making it in MLS since he came out of La Salle University. The Philadelphia Union drafted the local boy with the 5th pick of the 2011 Supplemental Draft and signed him to their roster after he had a strong showing in preseason.
Richter failed to feature for the Union in 2011 in a competitive match with his only appearances coming in a friendlies including ones against Everton, Real Madrid, and Harrisburg City. He spent part of the season out on loan to the Harrisburg City Islanders but didn't find much playing time there either and the Union elected not to pick up his option after the 2011 season.
Since leaving the Union he has had two extended trials with D.C. United in both 2012 and 2013 and was invited back to trail with the Union following the 2012 season. He always seemed close to making team's rosters but has yet to make his breakthrough to the next level.
Coming off his impressive season with the Battery, Richter is finally getting his chance to make a contribution in MLS with Toronto. He would have been familiar to both Kevin Payne and Pat Onstad from his extended trial with DCU so it is no surprise that with the team in need of versatile, affordable depth players they were willing to at least give Richter a look.
The club is officially listing Richter as a defender despite much of his previous experience coming in the midfield playing on either wing. He has trained all over the outside since joining Toronto FC on trial but he was used as a right back in the friendly against Notre Dame.
If TFC is looking to use Richter as a defender then he should provide a good depth option behind Richard Eckersley and Ashtone Morgan along with Darel Russell. TFC remains thin on both sides of the defense so there should be plenty of chance for him to break into the roster and find minutes.
With Charleston he showed a good ability to get forward and put dangerous balls into the box so he should provide a fair bit of attacking ability down either wing when he gets the chance to push up from the back. His defensive abilities are much less proven but after two weeks training with the club and outlasting the likes of Jamie Peters he hopefully will prove to also be competent at that end of the field.
Richter is not going to be the kind of addition that pushes TFC to the next level but he is the sort of player that the club needs to add. A versatile, affordable, and domestic player are all good things for a roster that features too many overpaid international players that are handcuffing the management team's ability to properly rebuild.