Joao Plata has done an about face in 2014 from his 2013 season. That is not to say that he was not very good in 2013, but his scoring rate was inefficient at best. Plata ended the 2013 season having converted 12% of his shots into goals. In other words, it took him nearly 10 shots to get a goal. That's not very good. That is not to say that he did not have a great season last year. He brought great energy to the club and had eight assists which is very respectable. But 2014 has been nothing short of head-turning.
Just over halfway through the 2014 outing, Joao Plata leads the team in goals scored and is likely the Real Salt Lake MVP thus far. Imagine where RSL would be in the goal-scoring department without Plata having already lost Alvaro Saborio for a few months. Yikes.
But what is even more impressive is that, statistically, Plata is the most efficient scorer in Major League Soccer right now. Plata leads the league in goals per shot at 31%. Rather than needing 10 shots to convert a goal, he now only needs three.
Not only that, but Plata leads MLS in shots on goal per shot at an astounding 69%. The next closest is MLS leading scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips at 57%. So not only is he getting goals at a torrid rate, he is doing extremely well with the chances he does get. That makes for a dangerous striker and a headache for the opposing defense.
I was very critical of Plata's finishing ability over the course of the 2013 season. I have never been happier to be proven wrong.