TORREÓN, Mexico – On most nights, scoring two goals on the road in Mexico in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg would be a joyous occasion.
But that was not the case for Toronto FC's Ecuadoran winger Joao Plata on Wednesday.
“Truthfully, I'm very sad,” he told MLSsoccer.com after the 6-2 defeat to Santos Laguna in the Estadio Corona.
Speaking just 30 minutes after the final whistle, Plata said he believed Toronto went about things the right way and coped with the difficulties of playing in Mexico, but didn't get the rub of the green.
“I think there is pressure, they have the support, but Toronto went out to play well and do the right things,” Plata said, adding, “they had the fortune tonight.”
The diminutive 20-year-old is urging his teammates not to dwell on the defeat and start getting results in MLS.
“We have to get our heads up and focus,” he said. “We know the season is long.”
The season may go until November, but the first MLS matchup between Toronto FC and Montreal Impact looms large on Saturday and Toronto are still looking for their first league point of 2012.
“We have to play for our lives and start from zero against Montreal,” he said. “It's a key game, a clásico in Canada and we hope to get three points.”
Toronto fans will be pleased that the flying winger is 100 percent committed to the Reds' cause and fired up to help the club out of its domestic slump.
“I'm appreciative of the club for giving me the opportunity and opening the door, so I have to respond with good soccer, with energy,” he said.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.