I’m not an expert on Joao Plata, the Ecuadoran forward acquired by RSL from Toronto FC for a one-year loan on Wednesday. I followed him during the Combine a couple of years ago, and was mesmerized seeing him play for TFC for stretches after they drafted him. His stature (5’2”, and blazing speed are a sight to behold). But I haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing his game. Here are some brief thoughts on him:
Not Findley’s Understudy
Some have referred to him as a backup to Robbie Findley as a speed merchant. Although that may be partially true, it would be a mistake to assume that he’s a similar player. Plata likes the ball at his feet, Findley likes to run onto the ball and quickly distribute or shoot.
Both have speed in bunches, but Findley blazes vertically. Plata tries to drift in to space, often taking a wide position. He’s much more Dane Richards than Robbie Findley.
A Work in Process
I’ve seen this referred to as a “great addition” and also have heard many fans questioning why RSL would be interested in Plata. After all he’s only scored a few goals in his career. I believe the answer lies somewhere between the two. Plata is a few months older than Luis Gil. Neither have set the world on fire in MLS to this point, but both have shown flashes of potential, and have not likely “peaked” yet. Let’s hope this is the year for both youngsters.
Last year, Plata made $50,000. He cost a lot more to the cap, because Toronto FC reportedly paid a $500,000 transfer fee to purchase his rights from LDU Quito. Loan arrangements within MLS are quite rare (in fact, I can’t recall a specific one), however, my assumption is that in addition to his modest salary, I would assume that RSL will pay a “loan fee” to TFC to recoup some of this investment. If not, then a supplemental draft pick is a steal for the temporary rights to this kid.
I think it’s not easy to be wow’ed by this acquisition, but there’s also not much to criticize, and if he’s in form and fits the system well, then this could turn out to be a fantastic pickup. What are your thoughts?