Joao Plata scored once and set up another goal in his Major League Soccer debut yesterday as Toronto FC beat the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, before a crowd of 20,259 at BMO Field.
After Toronto forward Nick Soolsma was taken down in the Houston penalty area by Andre Hainault, Plata, a 19-year-old Ecuadorian with lightning-quick feet, stepped up to the penalty spot. He deposited a shot into the top left corner past helpless goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 50th minute.
Plata then turned playmaker in the 81st minute, sending a through ball to second-half substitute Maicon Santos, who gave Toronto (2-3-4) a 2-0 lead.
Plata, who was given a rousing ovation when he was subbed out in second-half stoppage time, was the most dangerous player on the field all night and thought he’d earned a second penalty kick in the 61st minute. The 6-foot-2-inch striker moved in on Hall, who appeared to bring him down. Referee Jorge Gonzalez initially pointed to the spot and gave Hall a yellow card.
But after conferring with the linesman, Gonzalez reversed his decision and awarded Houston a free kick, apparently believing that Plata dived.
Crew 1, Sounders 1 — Host Columbus ran its unbeaten streak to seven games when Emilio Renteria converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute to tie Seattle.
Real Salt Lake 1, Chivas USA 0 — Will Johnson put in a high volley in the 87th minute and Real Salt Lake pushed its home league unbeaten streak to 28 games.
FC Dallas 0, D.C. United 0 — Kevin Hartman made two close-range saves against Charlie Davies and three overall to help FC Dallas draw in Washington.
Whitecaps 0, Fire 0 — Vancouver’s Jay Nolly and Chicago’s Jay Conway combined for six saves in Bridgeview, Ill.