Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata earns first Ecuador call-up in two years

Joao Plata has been called into Ecuador’s squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, marking the Real Salt Lake star’s first international opportunity in some two years.

Plata will join La Tri for CONMEBOL qualifiers at Chile on Oct. 5 and at home vs. Argentina on Oct. 10, the final two rounds of South America’s qualifying process for Russia 2018.

It’s a well-earned reward for a solid 2017 campaign in which Plata has scored seven goals (making him RSL’s co-leading scorer alongside Yura Movsisyan) and five assists to fuel the Claret-and-Cobalt’s late run at a playoff spot.

“I take this call-up with humility and much responsibility. I feel happy to be able to don the jersey of my national team again,” Plata told Radio Atalaya.

“I have a great responsibility to defend the colors of my country. For me personally, the most beautiful thing is to wear the shirt of your national team. I am very happy and so is my family. Any time there’s a united group, it’s always a joy to work.”

Ecuador sit in eighth place in South America’s 10-team round-robin qualification setup, leaving them on the outside looking in as the road to Russia winds down.