Joao Plata is doing his job well - so well in fact that it’s probably cost him chances to start for Real Salt Lake.
The Ecuadorian speedster came off the bench last night and provided a crucial 78th minute goal that put RSL up 2-0, which proved to be the game winner after Salt Lake allowed a late Portland goal. Afterward, coach Jason Kreis said this about the young forward’s role on the team:
“I feel really awkward about this, because Joao has played really, really well for about six weeks. Really, he’s done just about everything we’ve asked him to do. He deserves to be starting a lot more matches than he has in the last six weeks, but what he has done is come off the bench and provide a spark every time he comes on. He’s been really effective in that role. I want to make sure that role is valued, because it is really important, obviously to have him come on and change games - he scored the game-winner.”
Plata has been a game-changer from the start for RSL, and is second on the team with six assists. In Open Cup play, Plata has added two goals and another helper.
“He’s been amazing,” RSL defender Nat Borchers said. “When he played with Toronto, I personally wasn’t very impressed. He’s come to our team and I think he’s stepped up his game. And that was just a massive, massive goal for us to go ahead in the second half.”
— Aaron Falk