Longtime Real Salt Lake mainstay Joao Plata’s days with the club may be numbered

It appears Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata will soon be on the move.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation told The Salt Lake Tribune that RSL is in talks to find a landing spot for the 27-year-old Ecuadorian forward in Liga MX. Plata’s agent, Gonzalo Vargas, told The Tribune that multiple teams in Mexico are an option for Plata.

“We are analyzing together with RSL and Joao which is the best option for all,” Vargas said.

Once source said RSL has been engaged with one Liga MX team, but did not specify which. Plata is reportedly linked to Atlético San Luis, which recently was upgraded to Liga MX. But a deal there is not imminent, Vargas said.

“For the moment, we don’t have a formal offer from the San Luis club,” Vargas said.

Vargas also there is a “great possibility” that Plata goes to a team in Mexico.

An RSL spokesperson declined comment for this story.

Plata has seen his playing time diminish this season after the signing of striker Sam Johnson and the ascension of forward Corey Baird, who was named the Major League Soccer rookie of the year last season. With other attacking players such as Jefferson Savarino and Sebastian Saucedo on the roster and an ankle injury that kept him out four games, Plata has so far been unable to break into the rotation.

Several RSL players said last October that Plata was a positive presence in the locker room. Coach Mike Petke said at the time that Plata had “a lot to offer.” After a slow start to 2018, the forward had a surge that lasted months.

In an interview it The Tribune last October, Plata said he was “happy” with RSL because he felt the club was “part of my family.”

Plata’s best statical season came in 2014, his second year with RSL, when he tallied 13 goals and six assists. At times during his career, including this year, the forward has been hampered with various injuries. He missed four games earlier this season due to an ankle injury.

In 2017, while on international duty with the Ecuadorian national team, Plata reportedly broke curfew with four other teammates and was subsequently suspended from the national team. He later apologized.

Plata came to Major League Soccer in 2011 with Toronto FC. He spend two seasons there before RSL acquired him in January 2013. He played in 163 total games for Salt Lake and started 135 of them while scoring 45 goals and 43 assists.