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Does RSL miss the injured Joao Plata?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

RSL has started off the season 2-3-0 and has tallied five goals on the season. Some may chalk that up to a change in formation, or maybe the turnover on the roster. Some may look to the absence of Joao Plata as the cause of the lack of production from the forward spot.

The move to the 4-3-3 line up was put in place to get an attack minded formation on the field, and 11 play makers on the pitch. Putting Alvaro Saborio in the center forward position, with Sebastian Jaime and Olmes Garcia on either side, the front line in five games has produced one goal for RSL, and that one goal came from a Saborio kick from the spot versus Philadelphia. The only other goal from a forward has been Jordan Allen off the bench, with his game winner versus Toronto.

Joao Plata played in 26 MLS matches for RSL last season, and tallied 13 goals. So Plata averaged a goal every other game. He accumulated that on from 32 shots on goal. Saborio last season had similar results, with 16 games played and eight goals. He got those goals from only 18 shots on goal, including this one seconds after he stepped on the pitch.

Is the lack of production from the formation, the forwards not meshing together, or the midfielders not providing the service to the forwards? At one point versus Sporting Kansas City, RSL had been out shot 11 to two with zero shots on goal.

Olmes Garcia has three shots on goal this season in five starts. Devon Sandoval has played in three games, started one, and has zero shots. Jaime had three starts, and one shot on goal before he got injured versus Toronto. Allen has played in five games, started one, has two shots (both on goal), and scored one.

It's early in the season. There is a very small sample size. It will be interesting to see if Plata returns to his form of 2014 when he recovers from his injury. Plata took advantage of his playing time while Sabo was out last season. So far the other forwards have not been doing the same in Plata's absence. It will be interesting to see if Saborio or Garcia find their form, or if the youngster Jordan Allen will take the most of his opportunity, and make his case for more playing time.