Somewhere along the way, I was under the impression that the deal for Joao Plata was a loan from Toronto FC. I don’t know where that came from, but it was inaccurate. It was a straight up trade for the young Ecuadoran.

“Plata is not a loan, it’s a trade,” GM Garth Lagerwey told Keepin’ It Real on Wednesday. “We acquired him from Toronto.”

While exact terms aren’t known, Plata made a scant $50K last season after signing a multi-year deal with the club after they acquired his rights from LDU Quito. It’s believed that the deal was a three-year deal, which would mean he has two years remaining.

It appears that the deal with Plata may have been partially precipitated due to a messy loan situation last year in which Plata tweeted that he’d been dealt on loan, while the club denied the situation (although he did ultimately end up on loan to LDU Quito).

Early impressions out of camp are that Plata is playing much more centrally than when he was in Toronto. Of course, TFC was asking him to play a different role than he has with RSL. That is good news in my book. I was afraid we’d see much more of a winger tendency from the youngster, and have a player who would have trouble connecting with the always central Alvaro Saborio.

There is also additional insight into Josh Saunders. The prospects of him signing a deal with RSL for the coming season look very good.

“We wanted to have another option at goalkeeper,” explained Lagerwey of the Saunders situation. “We want competition at every spot. We were surprised that Saunders is available, but he is. We brought him in to have a look and he’s done well.”

My translation – he’s almost certain to continue on with the club.

There are financial matters to consider. Saunders only made $78K last season, and his primary competition, Jeff Attinella, would likely make about half that. However, the key difference is that Saunders would certainly be a member of the 20-man senior roster, whereas Attinella likely would be an “off-budget” player occupying an apprentice spot which doesn’t count account against the cap. This distinction is significant as $80K of salary cap can often be an important asset. (Look for Keepin’ It Real’s assessment of RSL’s salary cap situation coming tomorrow).

Look for the 31-year old Saunders to be 33-year old Rimando’s backup for the 2013 season. His experience will be invaluable to the squad, especially given the possibility of Rimando’s involvement with the USMNT.


7 Responses to “Camp Updates: Joao Plata and Josh Saunders”

  1. Francesco says:

    I’m ok with picking up Saunders on one condition he shave that patch under his lip.

  2. nanc says:

    Can’t argue saunders ability, he has had a few “opps” moments over the years with L.A. but those can be looked past. We may just have the best goalkeeping lineup in the league.

    Also if we picked up plata for a 2015 draft pick and a salary of 50k, toronto just got robbed.

    • Llama says:

      If you look at Rimando’s “oops” moments with DCU and Miami, I believe they called it “The Flying Rimando”, it proves that with great coaching you can go from good/very good to great. Saunders might just benefit from being here with RSL and a more positive environment than LA. I for one welcome having a steady backup to Rimando. The competition to push Rimando is another welcome side effect.

  3. wesbadia says:

    I suppose I’m just confused about the Saunders news because of the recent acquisition of Attinella. If we remember, Attinella was drafted by RSL in 2011, but was never signed to a contract. After two years in the NASL, he’s obviously gotten better. Now that we bring him in again and sign him to a deal, we have four GKs on the roster.

    The reason I have a hard time with this is because of Attinella’s perspective on the situation. After being cast off once, you’re welcomed back and signed only to find that they brought in a back-to-back Cup winning GK as a potential backup. If I were Attinella, I wouldn’t be happy about how things have transpired, effectively relegating me to the Reserve League for at least a season.

    Also, Fernandez is likely out of the GK cycle. I had heard rumors that the first team staff has not been satisfied by his development. Which is a shame considering he was an academy product that looked promising for the last couple years, and an eventual Rimando replacement when Nicky retired/moved on.

    Can’t fault Garth & Co for bringing in Saunders. He’s a solid keeper. I just question the personnel management for the position.

    • Randy says:


      Unfortunately professional sports is sometimes a cruel business. Attinella’s situation is hardly unique. He is given an opportunity. It’s up to him to make it, and they’ll give him a fair shot. He jumped at the chance, and was willing to take the risk. That’s the biz.

      The team will keep three GK’s, very unlikely that they’ll carry four even though they are more likely to carry a full 30-man roster this season.

  4. Jacknife says:

    This is a great situation for RSL. Pick up a good back up for Nick while he is away with the nats. Let Saunders gain some value, sell him off for something better next season. Remember, it is a business after all.

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