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Report: Joao Plata called to Ecuador national team

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Plata’s set for his first return since 2014.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After an extended period out of contention, Joao Plata has worked his way back into the Ecuadorian national team, according to a report from FutbolEcuador.

Plata, 25, hasn’t played for Ecuador since October 2014, when he played in friendlies against the United States and El Salvador. He scored twice against El Salvador, though sadly, those goals don’t seem to be available online these days.

Having not been selected since 2015, it’s easy to see how a drop in club form may have corresponded to a lack of selections. He scored 13 goals in 2014, but a preseason injury hampered his 2015 season, in which he scored only four times and earned four assists. In 2016, he scored 9 goals and had 12 assists.

Ecuador has World Cup Qualification matches on Oct. 5 and Oct. 10, against Chile and Argentina, respectively. They’re very much on the outside looking in with regard to qualification from CONMEBOL, and with just two matches remaining, it’ll take something of a miracle for them to make the final position in the group, which would require a play-in match to make the World Cup.

Plata shouldn’t miss any RSL time as a result, given the team is taking the FIFA window off. Only a handful of MLS teams will play during that period, including FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids, so there will be plenty to watch.