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Tales from the Draft: When RSL got Joao Plata in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick

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Joao Plata has been one of Real Salt Lake's best players over the last two years, but we wouldn't have him if we hadn't traded away a second-round draft pick.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In January 2013, Real Salt Lake took their second-round draft pick in 2015 and handed it to Toronto FC in exchange for one player who, to that point, hadn't met the expectations hoisted upon him.

It wasn't really Joao Plata's fault -- at least not entirely -- that Toronto FC wasn't the place for him. He'd been bouncing around between Ecuador (LDU Quito, to be precise) and Toronto, and he never really found his feet there. He was a young player, and it was his first time at a foreign club. It can't have been easy.

Anyway, that second round draft pick? We're more than happy to see the back of it. Plata had a good first season with us and an absolutely outstanding second season. We've now made a significant investment in his future, purchasing his rights and resolving any third-party ownership with the player. Additionally, we offered the player a new five-year contract -- the maximum allowable under FIFA statue.

When was the last time one of our second-round draft picks was that successful that quickly? It's tough to say. Chris Schuler fits the bill, but his development time was longer. And to be fair, he was a third-round pick.

To say that we got the better side of the deal undersells the phenomenal deal we made to get Plata on our side. Perhaps because third-party ownership clouded some considerations initially, he was undervalued, or perhaps it was simply the instability of his situation there. Regardless, we're the victors here, and long may that be the case.