Real Salt Lake is having quite the year. Now that I have overstated the obvious, let’s talk about why. Joao Plata. Now that I have stated why, let’s figure out why this could be a problem in the very near future.
Dependency on one man is a dicey endeavor. Real Salt Lake have this year pretty much all they had last year. The major difference is the insane form of that one man, Joao Plata. It may not be a pleasant thing to come to terms with, but without Plata, Real Salt Lake may be in a much different place.
Before we get into more details, let me just point out that I am not taking away from where Salt Lake are and how strong they have looked. I am merely wondering what would happen if Plata were to get injured, as he did this week (he is out 7-10 days).
Let’s consider all that Plata accounts for.
Real Salt Lake have scored ten goals this year. Solid amount. Plata has put four of those in the back of the net. Not the highest percentage, all things considered. But of the other six, Plata has assisted on three of them, giving him a 70% dependency factor, something I just made up to describe how much this offense needs him (he accounts for seven of their ten goals).
That is concerning. But it gets worse.
Plata fires 2.7 shots per match. The next closest is the Armenian, Yura Movsisyan with 1.7. Then there are a bunch of 1.3’s and so on and so forth. That means that Plata accounts for more shots than any two team mates combined, other than their starting forward, who he still out-shoots by one shot per match.
But shooting isn’t everything. There is also creating chances. Plata creates 3.2 chances per match for Real Salt Lake. The next closest among regular starters is yet again Movsisyan with 1.0. After that four guys are tied with 0.6. Some of you may already be way ahead of me, but that means that Plata accounts for as many chances as three leading team mates. He creates more chances than all of Real Salt Lake’s other midfielders combined.
LA Galaxy is next. Arguably the best team in MLS. Real Salt Lake will not have their offensive judge, jury and executioner. This is a massive test and all signs point towards it going horribly wrong. They simply do not have anyone that can fill that void. Unless Movsisyan starts becoming a human backboard and putting in more goals, then we are about to see an exposed Real Salt Lake.