Toronto FC teenager Joao Plata promised manager Aron Winter before Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo that if he scored a goal, he would dedicate it to the Dutchman.
It’s a story that the young Ecuadorean winger describes in detail on the latest edition of FutbolMLS.com’s weekly podcast Tiro Libre.
“I told him I would dedicate it to him for all the confidence he gave me, and thank God I didn’t disappoint,” Plata said. “I took maximum advantage of it [the opportunity].”
Plata, the shortest player in US professional sports, factored in both Toronto goals against Houston, scoring on a penalty kick and delivering the game-winning assist to Maicon Santos. The performance earned him MLS Player of the Week honors, but he is hungry for more.
The young Ecuadorean says that he’s dreaming of a return to his country’s Under-20 national team, which qualified to the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Colombia later this year. He addresses the controversy surrounding Liga de Quito players who were not released by the club for U-20 camps prior to the qualification tournament in February.
In addition to national team talk, Plata outlines the entire penalty kick sequence including his “shaking” before the PK, his battle with the language barrier and the advice his coach gave him to continue to build on his start.
“Now I have more responsibilities,” he said. “I have to keep working very hard for what’s coming.”