TORONTO – Joao Plata will get a chance to continue his development as a player, and Toronto FC will get some roster and cap space for this season.
That was purpose of the six-month loan deal with Plata’s former club Quito in his native Ecuador, completed officially on Wednesday after a sticky situation put the 20-year-old forward’s future with the club in doubt.
Plata’s left Toronto for Ecuador after the team’s game with the New York Red Bulls on June 30, before the deal was made official. He also took to Twitter to publicize his desire to return home.
“Do I want to take a hard line, of course I do,” TFC head coach Paul Mariner (above) said at training on Tuesday. “But he’s a [20-year-old] kid who has been ill-advised by a couple of people. I don’t want to throw the blame at people, but there’s a certain etiquette of going about your business. Major League Soccer and Toronto Football Club, we don’t go about our business in the way that was conducted.”
Toronto are hoping the move will help create room to acquire a player to fill a more immediate need, like an experienced center back. Then, the club hopes, Plata could return to them in January to prepare for next season.
“As you know, he was on the squad that was going to Dallas and Philly because the deal wasn’t done,” Mariner said. “[There are] extenuating circumstances about why we’re doing it. We need to develop him and he needed to go back to his home land and his home club to come back to us in January a better player. And then we can open some cap money up. That was the reason. It was nothing other than that.”
TFC also parted ways by mutual agreement on Wednesday with forward Nick Soolsma. He was one of three Reds players charged on June 18 with public intoxication in Houston.
“Obviously it had a little bit to do with it,” Mariner said after the team’s 3-2 win over Vancouver on Wednesday. “But it was everything. Just mutual agreement. We had a discussion with him, just a short discussion, and it was best for both parties.”
Soolsma appeared in nine games with the club this season after 23 appearances last season.