Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cochrane: Ecuador Forward Joao Plata Still Remains with Toronto FC Soccer Club

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cochrane: Ecuador Forward Joao Plata Still Remains with Toronto FC Soccer Club

Article excerpt

Forward Plata still remains with Toronto FC

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TORONTO - Ecuador forward Joao Plata is still with Toronto FC -- at least for now.

Earl Cochrane, the team's director of team and player operations, said Wednesday during a conference call Plata is still with the club, although Toronto FC continues to work on securing a loan agreement for Plata to suit up with his former club LDU Quito in his native country.

Cochrane delivered a similar message regarding Plata's status Saturday, although he added loan agreement talks are further along now than they were Saturday. To that end, Cochrane was hopeful a loan deal could be reached by the weekend and bristled somewhat when told that newspapers in Ecuador said Plata was there with his family would begin practising with his new team Thursday.

"The reality of the situation is he's a Toronto FC player, he will remain a Toronto FC player during the course of that loan," Cochrance said. "I don't know what to say other than what I'm telling you is the situation.

"You can speak to Ecuadorian news reports, you can speak to Twitter reports. What I'm telling you is the truth that we are working through the specifics of that six-month loan agreement, we think that's the best environment for Joao to continue his development and at the end of six months he will be a Toronto FC player again.''

The five-foot-two, 135-pound Plata suggested in a tweet the deal was done.

''Ready to leave tomorrow for Ecuador, thank u 4 everything to all the TFC fans, I hope to comeback one day,'' said the tweet, which was issued Tuesday.

Cochrane said Plata missed Toronto FC's practice Tuesday but added the player has never told club officials he wants to be moved. However, Cochrane added the MLS club has approached the league's head office about how to deal with Plata's absence because Toronto FC was expecting Plata to travel with the club for games Wednesday night in Dallas and Saturday night in Philadelphia.

"Because of that we're speaking with the league office to determine how to best handle this situation," Cochrane said. "One of those options could very well be some disciplinary action. …

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