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.