24 Under 24: #18 Joao Plata, Toronto FC
|Tale of the Tape|
|Matches played: 24|
|Matches started: 19|
#18. Joao Plata
Pos: F | Toronto FC | Age: 19
It’s not always that one of the MLS Player Combine’s outstanding performers produces immediate dividends for his club. It did not look promising at the start of the season for the diminutive Ecuadorean, who rode the pine before registering a goal and assist in his first MLS start in May. He never looked back, becoming a fan favorite and the primary attacking force for his side. What his manager will appreciate even more is that the individual success has yet to go to Plata’s head and he continues to be one of the hardest workers on the field for TFC.
What the TDs and coaches say: “He’s a player you have to pay attention to because he can beat you by himself … Speed to burn. Very explosive. Excellent technical ability. Causes havoc with one-vs-one dribbling … Can beat you if given space … Seems to work on both sides of the ball. He comes back with enthusiasm to defend … He has scored some big goals and is also assisting … Has shown that despite his size, he can be durable ... A player of his ability can improve if he’s around the ball a bit more. In the center of the field he can be a pretty darn good playmaker.”