Richie Laryea: A hidden gem for Toronto FC and Canada

Richie Laryea Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Richie Laryea Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Richie Laryea is truly a hidden gem for Toronto FC and Canada

This week, Richie Laryea was unstoppable. A (potential) goal of the week, confirmed as a member of the MLS team of the week, and player of the week were a few of his accolades that he earned in his superb match against NYCFC and Columbus Crew. Over a year on from signing with Toronto, he appears to be a pivotal part of Toronto FC’s bench and starting 11.

Joining Toronto in March of 2019, Laryea had had a quiet, pretty unsuccessful career at Orlando City SC. During his three years at Orlando, Laryea played a total of 503 minutes over 21 matches starting only 3 of them. He put up one assist in 2017 but didn’t muster much more than that.

When he departed from the club, Laryea says the clubs’ technical staff told him they didn’t see him as an MLS calibre player. Flashforward to the end of the 2019 season and Laryea had played well enough to earn a contract extension from Toronto and became a crucial member of the reigning MLS Cup finalists.

Richie Laryea has found gold playing on both teams

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His success hasn’t just culminated in a prominent role on one of the best teams in MLS, but his national team, Canada. While right-back isn’t Canada’s deepest position, Laryea’s competition Marcus Godhino isn’t terrible, but he certainly isn’t an ideal option for a nation looking to challenge on the international stage.

Enter Laryea, a quick, dynamic, attack-minded twenty-five-year-old who can both recover when being countered by the opposition and dribble through defenders as though they’re pylons. That type of player is, exactly, what Canada needs on that right flank.

Being able to dribble his way to the end line and throw a cross or low driven pass into the centre of the box for either Jonathan David or Lucas Cavallini is an excellent threat for Canada. Add in his ability to play anywhere on the right side, and he almost fits too perfectly for John Herdman.

However, he still has some pretty prominent issues. One of which is a tendency to go down pretty easily when tackled. While this has the potential to be very beneficial, the reputation he has created tends to mean that he doesn’t get the calls from referees.

This reputation can be very costly as he’s dribbling in high danger spots leaving whichever team he is playing for incredibly vulnerable on the counter-attack. Not only does Laryea tend to go down fairly easily, but he’s also got a bit of a temper. While that can be a good thing, it can also be fairly costly if he loses his head.

An angry Laryea is usually a bad thing and can result in some unnecessary discussions with the referee or even cards. Getting in players faces, making foolish tackles, or mouthing off to the referee can affect his ability to perform and be effective late in matches. So, Richie Laryea has found gold, for Toronto FC and Canada. A very talented player who can play in various places on the right side, he is incredibly important to both teams long-term success.

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While he has his issues, he’s only 25 and has shown some incredible growth over the last two seasons in Toronto. While still a raw talent, more maturity will help his development. This week is just a peek into the potential that this man holds and you can expect to see more from him in the very near future.