Tag Archive | "Joao Plata"

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Game #11 Preview: Philadelphia at Toronto FC

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Toronto FC have started another season in disappointing fashion but the fact remains, they’re serviceable at home. Add that to the fact that the Union are subpar away and Saturday’s match-up should be an interesting one. Carlos Ruiz will look to have maximum impact as he is set to report for international duty with Guatemala right after the game. Toronto, still trying to find an answer for the loss of former talisman Dwayne De Rosario, hopes the impressive Joao Plata can grow into that role.

Philadelphia Union (5-3-2) at Toronto FC (2-4-6)
Saturday, May 28th, 12:30 PM EST, Comcast SportsNet
BMO Field, Toronto, Canada

Philadelphia Projected Starters





————————-C. Ruiz——————Le Toux——————————

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); MF Amobi Okugo (L ankle sprain); MF Zach Pfeffer (appendectomy); QUESTIONABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain)

Toronto FC Projected Starters

————————————–S. Frei————————————————

Eckersley———–D. Williams——————Cann————————-Gargan




————————————-M. Santos———————————————-

OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); MF Jacob Peterson (L hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alan Gordon (adductor strain); Gianluca Zavarise (adductor strain); MF Toni Tchani (R hamstring)

Game Notes:

The Reds are coming off a fair result in Colorado, a 0-0 draw. They were scheduled to play the 2nd leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship against Vancouver this past Wednesday but poor weather conditions kept it from happening. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Vancouver was leading 1-0 up until the 63rd minute when the game was abandoned. Rules apparently state that the game had to be played in its’ entirety to be official. Bad for the Whitecaps, good for Toronto FC. It has since been rescheduled for July 2nd.

There will be one lingering concern from Toronto FC’s almost loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. BMO Field has been pretty much under water since then and there’s no telling what the field will be like mid-day Saturday. The good news is that the Union have one water-logged game under their belts, a tie with Seattle in the pouring rain. The pursuit of three points ruined in the waning moments.

The Union have only managed one goal on the road so far this season and the Reds average a little over one goal conceded a game at home. At BMO Field, the Reds defense is formidable and the Union, especially with Ruiz in the lineup before reporting for international duty, will have to buck that trend. Toronto, overall, have been shutout five times this season (out of 12 games). Not the prettiest of stats.  

The 2011 offseason was incredibly busy for Toronto FC management and there are very few players remaining with the Reds that played a part in the 2010 season. So far this season, the turnover has yet to pay off but there have been a couple signs of life here and there. Their revelation has been the diminutive Joao Plata, a 5’3″ Ecuadorian attacker taken in the 2011 SuperDraft. A winger for the most part, Plata and former Ajax product Javier Martina have been pretty potent on the wings. Sheanon Williams and Jordan Harvey will have their hands full but they should have enough speed and composure to deal with them.

It was Dwayne De Rosario who sunk the Union last time around at BMO Field. Toronto FC came away with the 2-1 win despite an improved away performance from Philadelphia. The Union paid them back, winning at home on a last gasp Sebastien Le Toux goal in July. Both players who had an impact against the Union last season, DeRo and Chad Barrett (now with LA), have moved on.

The Union are hoping they can pull a DC United in Toronto. Charlie Davies and Chris Pontius came into BMO Field a little over a month ago and led United to a convincing 3-0 win over the Reds. Since then, however, Toronto has rebounded well, going 1-0-2 at home. The defense should be able to keep a big guy like Maicon Santos in check, as they’ve done well all season limiting target men. It’s Joao Plata and Martina that they need to worry about. On the offensive side of things, it’s a small field like in Portland and finding a way to move down the pitch without the aid of ample room on the wings will be tough.

The Union sit tied at the top in the Eastern Conference, now with a game in hand thanks to another New York tie. Toronto lie in 7th place, above Chicago and Sporting Kansas City, with 12 games played to their 10 and 8 respectively.


The Union front office will take on The River End residents, the Sons of Ben, in the first ever River Cup match-up to be held at PPL Park.

A great in-depth scouting report of Toronto FC from PhiladelphiaUnion.com.

The Union striker corps could have a veteran addition by the week’s end. Vejko Paunovic, a journeyman, should be that addition. He’s older (33), has a pretty impressive resume (Getafe, Atletico Madrid, and Tenerife among others), but hasn’t played in over two years. Depth and knowledge is the main concern here and if he doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, he should do more good than bad.

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 8: Rookie takes honors after big performance for the Reds

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It was an odd week in Major League Soccer. Defenders continue to snuff out the impact of the league’s attacking all-stars (Marcos Mondaini of Chivas USA took out Javier Morales of RSL this past week) and it feels like the league as a whole was punished. On Saturday, when Morales went down with a broken ankle, five out of seven games that day finished in a tie of the 0-0, 1-1 variety. The best game of the week – a tie between Los Angeles and New York – could only muster two goals between the star-studded casts of each side. Regardless, new attacking talent still made itself known in a 5’3″ rookie, inserted to help a struggling Toronto FC squad find the net and he delivered.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 8

GK: Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas

Hartman delivered when called upon and for Dallas that was the second half. The veteran netminder – remember all that drama between Kansas City seasons ago? – stonewalled Charlie Davies not once, but twice, to keep a clean sheet at RFK Stadium. His shot stopping ability, never disputed, made sure the Hoops could leave the Nation’s Capital with their unbeaten streak intact (2-0-1).

DEF: Josip Mikulic, Chicago

Helped to limit Vancouver’s target man Eric Hassli and the whole Whitecaps attack to only one attempt on goal. In the process, the Fire’s back line secured their first shutout of the season only to watch to their attack squander chance after chance. The Fire settled for a tie but Mikulic is showing signs of being the consistent defensive presence they need to build a long-term solid defense off of.

DEF: Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Portland

Danso, a standout last year in USL Division 2 play, supplied the Timbers only goal late in their tilt against Philadelphia. It proved to be the only goal Portland would need as they won their fourth consecutive regular season home game, 1-0. The big Gambian got on the end of a Jack Jewsbury set piece to make sure the Union left JELD-WEN without a point. This is his first selection on the Best XI.

DEF: Heath Pearce, Chivas USA

His move to centerback has done wonders for a Chivas USA backline that was leaking goals early in the season. Faced with a little less than 60 minutes of 9-man soccer against Real Salt Lake of all teams, Pearce held the Goats’ defense together only conceding with three minutes to go. It’s Pearce’s second selection in the Best XI since his move to centerback.

DEF: Tim Ream, New York

Made key plays in the back against a strong Los Angeles side. His most important, however, was a goal-saving, line clearance on Landon Donovan that kept the Galaxy from winning all three points. Ream’s partnership with Marquez is quickly becoming one of the best in the league and the prospect of Ream allows Marquez to take more chances in the tackle.

MID: Will Johnson, Real Salt Lake

Johnson gets the nod for finally punishing a 9 -man Chivas USA squad that, in losing to Mondaini and Boyens through red cards, thought they could escape with a point. Johnson did much more than just scoring the gamewinner but after watching Javier Morales lose his whole 2011 season to an atrocious Mondaini tackle, the home crowd wanted punishment and Johnson delivered.

MID: Andy Najar, DC United

It was the Josh Wolff/Charlie Davies show midweek against Seattle but they cooled off during the weekend encore vs. FC Dallas. Najar was effective in both games and starting to show signs of a return to 2010 season form. He was more than just two secondary assists against Seattle. Early on, things weren’t working and the youngster adapted. Against Dallas, he was the most dangerous person on the field.

MID: David Beckham, Los Angeles

Go through it all again – pinpoint long balls, great vision, tireless work ethic. Beckham’s move to central midfield has been the best move Bruce Arena has made all season and it showed against the Red Bulls. It was Beckham’s corner kick that found the head of Landon Donovan – of all people – to equalize for the Galaxy. Gave Juan Pablo Angel quite a few chances to put the Galaxy ahead and end his scoring slump but the Colombian wasn’t able to convert. Surprisingly, this is Beckham’s first selection in the Best XI so far this season.

Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

FWD: Joao Plata, Toronto FC *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

‘Carpe diem’ must be Plata’s mantra as the diminutive forward was given a chance and  hewasted no time in making his mark on Toronto FC’s starting eleven. One start, one goal, one assist. Not bad for a young Major League Soccer career. Plata scored in the 50th minute on a penalty kick and supplied the through ball that iced the win for the Reds. He’s technically gifted, pacy, and creative – a combination that Toronto FC only really had in DeRosario. Can Plata keep it up?

FWD: Thierry Henry, New York

Scored the first goal of the game – his fourth of the season – and was dangerous throughout. Henry didn’t waste any time announcing himself to the Galaxy faithful, scoring a goal in the fourth minute. The Frenchman started slow this season but he has since started chipping away at the expectations that all Red Bull fans have for his time in New York. This is Thierry’s third selection in the Best XI this season.

FWD: Charlie Davies, DC United

A budding partnership is developing between MLS vet Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies as they connected to sink Seattle midweek. Davies, however, could have walked away with more than just one tally – missing on several opportunities to add to the scoreline. He slowed down a bit against FC Dallas but his showing against Seattle was enough to warrant his 2nd appearance on ASN’s Best XI.

Bench: Kasey Keller (Seattle), Juninho (Los Angeles), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Bouna Coundoul (RBNY), Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA), Julian De Guzman (Toronto FC), Servando Carrasco (Seattle), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Josh Wolff (DC United), Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas)


MLS Best XI, Week 7

MLS Best XI, Week 6

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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2011 Mock MLS SuperDraft Aggregator: Pre-Combine

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Breton Bonnette

With the Combine done and over with and all of the discussion surrounding who did well and who didn’t, we all wait for the final pre-Super Draft Mock Drafts to come out. We forgot to put up the Pre-Combine results, however, so here they are. We did them in the same fashion as last year – aggregating the best and most qualified Mock Drafts out there. Take a look below at where your favorite prospect is projected to end up.

Remember that this is PRE-Combine. We’ll try and get a Post-Combine up to see whose stock fell and whose rose before tomorrow’s SuperDraft in Baltimore (where despite the snow, we’ll be…).

Pre-Combine Participants (9 total)

SoccerbyIves.net – Ives Galarcep

Goal.com – J.R. Eskilson

WVHooligan – Drew Epperley

International Sports Network – Derrick Smith

Houston Chronicle – Darrell Lovell

MLSSoccer.com – Simon Borg, Jason Seghini, Travis Clark

ASN Philly – Breton Bonnette, Sam Toma

Aggregated Mock MLS SuperDraft – PreCombine

#1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Darlington Nagbe – F (Akron) [AVG 1.56, 5x#1, 3x#2]

It’s not like last year with Mwanga having signed a pre-Draft agreement that made him the unanimous number one. Nagbe is still the projected #1, by a hair.

#2 Portland Timbers – Perry Kitchen – D (Akron) [AVG 1.78, 4x#1, 3x#2, 2x#3]

#3 D.C. United – Kofi Sarkodie – D (Akron) [AVG 4.78, 6x#4, 1x#2, 1x#12]

#4 Chivas USA – Will Bruin – F (Indiana) [AVG 5.33, 4x#3, 2x#9]

#5 Philadelphia Union – Zarek Valentin – D (Akron) [AVG 6.33, 4x#5, 1x#3, 1x#15]

He probably would have averaged higher but somebody was under the impression Valentin would fall to #15. That skewed his average quite a bit. Still, though, 4 mock drafts saw him heading to Philadelphia.

#6 New England Revolution – Omar Salgado – F (US U-20s) [AVG 7.44, 2x#7, 1x#2, 1x2nd Round]

#7 Houston Dynamo – A.J Soares – D (California) [AVG 8.67, 2x#7, 3x#9, 1x#13]

#8 Vancouver Whitecaps – Jalil Anibaba – D (UNC) [AVG 9.44, 2x#8, 2x#9, 3x#10]

Ives Galarcep’s best performer of the Combine. Should move up in the draft.

#9 Chicago Fire – Corey Hertzog – F (Penn State) [AVG 9.44, 3x#6, 1x#5, 1x2nd Round]

Hertzog should move up after a decent Combine. Surprisingly, however, only 1 mock draft put him as a Philadelphia Union selection.

#10 Sporting Kansas City – Zac MacMath – GK (Maryland [AVG 10.78, 5x#11, 1x#4]

#11 Seattle Sounders – Michael Nanchoff – M (Akron) [AVG 11.00, 3x#12, 2x#8, 1x#14] 

#12 Columbus Crew – Anthony Ampaipitakwong – F (Akron) [AVG 12.78, 2x#12, 1x#11, 1x2nd Round]

#13 New York Red Bulls – Michael Farfan – M (UNC) [AVG 12.89, 2x#13, 1x#6, 2x#15, 1x2nd Round]

#14 Real Salt Lake – Justin Meram – F (Michigan) [AVG 14.44, 3x#15, 1x#6, 2x#17]

#15 San Jose Earthquakes – Joao Plata  – F (Ecuador) [AVG 15.56, 1x#2, 1x#5, 7x2nd Round]

At 5’3″ and with only the Combine footage to go off of, even with a good showing in Florida Plata probably won’t move up much.

#16 Los Angeles Galaxy – Stephen McCarthy – M (UNC) [AVG 15.67, 3x#17, 1x#10, 2x2nd Round]

#17 FC Dallas – Michael Tetteh – D (UCSB) [AVG 15.78, 1x#8, 1x#12, 5x2nd Round]

#18 Colorado Rapids – Ashley McInnes – M (Tulsa) [AVG 17.44, 2x#14, 2x#17, 5x2nd Round]

Post-MLS Combine, there are definitely some names that should be moving up this list and into contention – the most major being the dimunitive Joao Plata who was the Combine’s leading scorer and currently sits at #15 and taken by the San Jose Earthquakes. Surprising fact? A whopping six Akron Zips are projected to go first round. Impressive.

These obviously have nothing to do with team wants or needs but it’s interesting nevertheless.

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