Though Omar Salgado going as the No. 1 pick may have been the biggest surprise of this year’s MLS SuperDraft, the fact that Joao Plata went 49th overall could come under the same department.
“Things go down like that,” said Plata with a tinge of disappointment in his voice.
After being chosen by Toronto – only after the Reds traded backup goalkeeper Jon Conway to the Chicago Fire for the 49th pick – it was expected that the diminutive (5-foot-2, 140 pounds) Ecuadorian would be selected higher up in the draft, especially after raising his stock substantially by walking away as the Combine’s leading scorer with three goals.
In the end, the 18-year-old’s size may have been too big of an issue, as his name was skipped time and again until the third round. Nonetheless, the winger is relieved that he was chosen.
WATCH: Plata highlights
“I was very nervous,” admitted Plata with a bit of a chuckle, “[but] I knew that everything would turn out all right. And as I hoped, things did turn out well. Now, well, I’m very glad and [ready] to tear it up in this club.”
How Plata will fit into the plans of new head coach, Aron Winter, remains to be seen. Fast and with an eye for scoring, it seems like the Liga de Quito product would do well in the Total Football system the Dutch boss wants to implement.
No matter his role on his new team, “La Platita” (Little Silver) has big plans for 2011.
“[I'll score] a lot of goals,” Plata promised. “I want to win a starting spot, which is foremost, and if given the opportunity, score lots of goals and show the team why they picked me.”
Plata admitted he didn’t know much about his future destination or the team, but expects to adapt quickly to his new environment.
"I just have to adapt to the guys, the coaches," he said. "I’ll just have to adapt, that’s all.”
And Toronto’s cold weather? Well, he’ll just have to adapt to that, too.
“It’ll be complicated, but it’s where I’m headed.”