SANDY, UT – Real Salt Lake FW Joao Plata has been named MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week Nine of the 2014 MLS season.
Plata put in a spectacular performance in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s thrilling 3-2 win over Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday. After going down 2-0 in the first half, the speedy Ecuadorian cut the lead by one in the 72nd minute, and went on to score the game-winner in the 93rd minute after RSL FW Alvaro Saborio equalized three minutes earlier. Plata now claims five goals and two assists in six games played this season. His five goals in 394 minutes played gives him 1.14 goals per 90 minutes, third in the league amongst players with at least 100 minutes played.
Plata’s first goal on Saturday came in the 72nd minute to pull the Claret-and-Cobalt within one. RSL MF Javier Morales assisted on the play, weaving a pass through the Chicago Fire defense to Plata just inside the area. The Ecuadorian attacker took it from there, turning and powering a low right-footer inside the left post to make it 2-1.
After Saborio equalized in the 90th minute, RSL stayed on the front foot, with Plata scoring the dramatic winner in the third minute of stoppage time. Saborio assisted on the goal, hitting an inch-perfect cross from the left wing that Plata volleyed in from four yards out.
This is Plata’s second MLS Player of the Week honor – his first with Real Salt Lake. The Ecuadorian previously won in 2011 with former club Toronto FC. This marks the third MLS Player of the Week honor for RSL in 2014 – GK Nick Rimando previously won Week One and Week Seven – and the 24th time in RSL history that a Claret-and-Cobalt player has won the award.
The MLS Player of the Week award is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.
RSL will return to action this Sunday, when it will take on Houston Dynamo at 5:00 p.m. MT at BBVA Compass Stadium. Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.