One of Joao Plata’s biggest dreams is about to come true: The diminutive Toronto FC winger will get the chance to trade in his club’s red jersey for a week-and-a-half to wear Ecuador’s yellow-and-blue kits.
On Friday, the 5-foot-2 attacker was named in a list of 23 players selected by Ecuador head coach Reinaldo Rueda that will play in three friendlies between May 28-June 7 that will help determine La Tricolor's final roster for this summer’s Copa América. One of which, against Canada on June 1, will be on his club team's own home pitch of BMO Field.
Plata, who had until now only been part of the Ecuador’s Under-20s, wasn’t even sure the youth side would call on him for the U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
“At this moment, it’s what I want the most,” he said about the possibility of joining the U-20s on FutbolMLS.com’s Tiro Libre podcast. “But it’s not my decision. It’s the coaches’ decision. All I focus on is on working hard to be ready for a call-up.”
Now the 19-year-old, who has two goals and two assists thus far in his debut MLS season, will instead get a chance to play alongside players like Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia and Monterrey’s Walter Ayoví, among others.
Ecuador will take on Mexico in Seattle on May 28, Canada in Toronto on June 1 and Greece in New York on June 7. Should Plata impress Rueda, he could be joining La Tri for the Copa América, which will take place in Argentina from July 1-24.
Plata, like most of the others summoned, is expected to report to the national team's training camp in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Sunday night.