Ryan Richter Fulfills Championship Dream With Winning Penalty

IMAGE, NY COSMOS

by JAKE NUTTING

A year ago this Tuesday, Ryan Richter was leaving the field dejected after falling to the New York Cosmos in the NASL championship final as a member of Ottawa Fury FC.

On Sunday night, the defender stepped to the spot in the fourth round of penalties in this year’s final and calmly converted his strike on behalf of those same Cosmos to ensure that he wouldn’t walk away empty handed this time.

The title-clinching moment was the end to a whirlwind two-month stretch for Richter, who only became a regular starter for the Cosmos after signing with the team in late September following a standout season with Bethlehem Steel FC of the USL.

“It’s funny how life works because this whole year, I probably didn’t think I would be here to win a championship with the New York Cosmos,” Richter said.

According to Richter, his teammates helped reduce the pressure as he stepped up to the spot to take his penalty. Jairo Arrieta, Adam Moffat and Ayoze all smashed their penalties into the back of the net while Indy Eleven saw two of their three attempts fail to cross the line. On top of that, the confidence of knowing league MVP Juan Arango was waiting in the wings to strike a fifth penalty if need be also aided in keeping the burden off Richter.

“Honestly, I wasn’t that nervous, because there’s not much pressure,” he said. “The next guy will score, I know that. Juan’s the next shooter. He’ll score. For me to end up here with the Cosmos to take that penalty, I knew that the plan was for me to make it.”

Richter finishes the year ranked 18th in minutes played for the Cosmos, but every one of those minutes were vital to the Cosmos repeating as NASL champions.

With Richter on the field as a starter in five of the last six regular season matches, the Cosmos were able clinch the Fall Season crown and lock up the all-important home field advantage in the postseason. The 27-year-old defender even had a crucial goal-line clearance in New York’s comeback win over Rayo OKC in the semifinal round to earn a spot in the final.

“I had a dream it was going to end like that because of the year that I had and all of the things that had to go right to get me here,” Richter said. “I’m so glad I was able to help the boys achieve the goal of the season.”