Ecuador call up Real Salt Lake sparkplug Joao Plata for friendlies in US against Bolivia, Brazil
Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata is enjoying the best season of his MLS career, with 11 goals in only 18 starts, and he was rewarded on Monday when the 22-year-old was named to Ecuador's 22-player roster for upcoming friendlies against Bolivia and Brazil, both to be played in the United States.
Ecuador, beginning their preparations for the 2015 Copa América in Chile, will play Bolivia on Sept. 5 in Miami's Sun Life Stadium and will then take on Brazil at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sept. 9.
After finishing fourth in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, Ecuador finished third in their group at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, going 1-1-1 but placing behind France and Switzerland and failing to advance.
Plata has made one previous appearance for Ecuador, debuting on June 1, 2011, in a friendly played at BMO Field while Plata played for Toronto FC. After falling out with Toronto FC, Plata returned to LDU Quito in Ecuador for a loan stint in 2012 before joining Real Salt Lake last year.
Now in his fourth year in MLS, Plata is tied for fifth in MLS both in goals (11) and game-winning goals (4). While on national-team duty, the 5-foot-2 forward is expected to miss only one match: Real Salt Lake's home game againt FC Dallas on Sept. 6.