SANDY, Utah — By all accounts, Joao Plata had a pretty spectacular debut for Real Salt Lake.
The speedy Ecuadorian played an effective 25 minutes off the bench for the Claret-and-Cobalt in San Jose last weekend, igniting the attack and hitting a specatcular lead ball for Álvaro Saborío to chase down for the opening goal in a game RSL ended up winning 2-0.
But those 25 minutes may be as much time as the 5-foot-2 forward can give in a game right now.
"I'm really concerned with his fitness level right now, something we know we have to address," RSL coach Kreis told reporters on Wednesday, adding he was very happy with the perfomance Plata gave during his short time on the pitch.
"He joined us late in our preseason, and I'm not sure what he did in the offseason, but it doesn't look like much. He is going to be a work in progress, and we need to be very focused on getting him fit and able to play more minutes."
The words may be harsh, but Plata agrees with his coach's assessment — that is, after he joined reporters after putting in some extra sprints following training in order to get to full fitness more quickly.
"I feel I'm not 100 percent yet," Plata said through the translation of backup goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez, "but that is why I am practicing really hard and putting in the extra work so that I can get to 100 percent pretty soon."