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Toronto FC, Joao Plata separation looks imminent

Jul 4, 2012, 2:47 PM EDT

Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC Getty Images

One man who won’t be part of the ongoing TFC revival is Joao Plata, the small winger who could be counted among the short list of 2011 successes around BMO.

Plata hasn’t featured lately for new manager Paul Mariner. The Ecuadorian attacker had three goals and five assists as a rookie last year but never cracked the stat sheet (in goals or assists) in 2012.

Apparently unhappy in Canada, or just homesick in general, Plata has recently put the club in a tough spot, telling fans and reporters he was heading home to Ecuador, never mind the lack of a deal in place.

Now it looks like the club has acquiesced, attempting to arrange a loan deal to Plata’s former Ecuadorian club Quito. TFC director of operations Earl Cochrane told MLSSoccer.com the Canadian club hopes to have a loan deal in place soon. Meanwhile, he and other Toronto FC officials are exploring possible disciplinary options.

“The player was absent from training [Tuesday in Toronto] and he was on our travel squad for the Dallas game and the upcoming game in Philadelphia on the weekend,” Cochrane told MLSSoccer.com. “We’re speaking to the league office as to how to best handle this situation. And one of those options could be disciplinary action.”

It’s a tough call for the club. On one hand, teams set a dangerous precedent by allowing players to dictate terms and create leverage the way Plata did, by announcing via Twitter over the weekend that he was returning to his native land.

On the other hand, it does manager Paul Mariner nor anyone else at the club much good to have malcontents around, potentially poisoning the locker room.

Either way, seems safe to say that supporters around BMO have seen the last of Plata in a TFC red. At the very least, Plata won’t be on the field in suburban Dallas tonight as Mariner and Co. visit.

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