Ryan Richter is an MLS fullback through and through.
Strong and physical on the ball with a keen sense of space and positioning, Richter, like Dan Gargan and Logan Emory before him, is enjoying a career renaissance from the USL back into Major League Soccer with Toronto FC.
Richter played his second game at right fullback, and was impressive against the Houston Dynamo. He combined well with Reggie Lambe and Luis Silva on more than one occasion, making smart runs and finding open space, too. In the absence of Richard Eckersley or Darel Russell, Richter filled into the right fullback slot with ease. During Toronto’s dominant performance over the Dynamo, Richter played the full 90 minutes, and was never really troubled on the right hand side.
After the game, and the devastating late equalizer, Richter was visibly upset.
“It’s pretty heart-breaking, you know?” said Richter. “I thought that we played pretty well. If you’re playing fullback you can play well any time that your team has the ball the whole time. It’s just hard to believe that that’s the way the game ended.”
Talking about the defensive breakdown on the final corner kick, Richter is clear that the club needs to prevent these kinds of goals from being conceded.
“It just can’t happen,” said Richter. “ Something we’ve talked about before is manning up on free kicks and corners, and not ‘grab a man,’ but literally man up, go get the ball, win the ball and we just didn’t win the last ball.”
On his own personal performance, Richter’s mind was on the team, but for the most part, he was satisfied with his own play.
“I mean, you’re playing fullback and your team has possession for pretty much the whole game, it’s easy to play well because you have so much time on the ball,” said Richter. “I thought I did okay, I could have done better with my crossing, my passing, and almost kept a clean sheet.”
This Wednesday, Toronto FC takes on the Montreal Impact in the Amway Canadian Championship. This will be the first Canadian Championship tournament for many of Toronto FC’s new players, and Richter is excited to get a chance to play in another domestic competition.
“This is my first time playing in the Canadian Championship,” said Richter. “I played in the Open Cup in the U.S. since I was 18, so it’s pretty cool to get the other spectrum of that and hopefully we can make a run of it.”
As for life in Canada and in Toronto, Richter was pleased with the transition. The former Philadelphia Union player compared Toronto to his old stomping grounds.
“The people are a lot nicer in Toronto than they are in Philly,” said Richter. “I’m living in Liberty Village so it’s a pretty nice area, there’s enough to do down there.”
With Ryan Richter, Richard Eckersley and Darel Russell, along with Ashtone Morgan and Logan Emory, it seems Toronto FC has a wealth of options to choose from in the two fullback positions. Richter’s performance, stepping in for an injured Russell, made him a surprise highlight against the Houston Dynamo.
It seems every player that makes their Toronto FC debut under Ryan Nelsen comes up with an impressive performance. Thankfully, Ryan Richter is no different.
So, coach, how do you narrow the team down to only 11?