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Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata Voted Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month

Contact: MLS Communications
Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata Voted Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month
NEW YORK (Thursday, March 31, 2016) – Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata was voted Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month by fans on for the month of March of the 2016 MLS season.
The 24-year-old Ecuadorian has established himself as the focal point of RSL’s attack, leading the team with three goals and two assists through three matches. With a 1-0-2 record, RSL is only one of three teams in the league to remain undefeated. 
Plata began his 2016 campaign with a brace in RSL’s 2-2 draw at Orlando City SC on March 6, with his first goal of the season coming in a 26th minute penalty kick to give RSL the early lead (Watch Goal). In the 66th minute, Plata sat near post, sending teammate Tony Beltran’s cross into the back of the net for his second tally of the match (Watch Goal).
A week later, Plata’s heroics lifted RSL to a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC with two assists in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s home opener on March 12. Down a goal just before the half, Plata sent a beautiful corner kick directly to the penalty spot for an equalizing header by Sunday Stephen in the 43rd minute (Watch Assist). Moments before the end of the match, Plata recorded his second assist of the game in the 86th minute, sending a free kick to the left side of the box to teammate Juan Manuel Martinez, whose cross found Jamison Olave for the game-winning header (Watch Assist).
In yet another positive result for RSL, Plata led helped the club to a key 2-2 draw on the road against defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers on March 19. Plata got on the board in the 16th minute, sending a stunning free kick from just outside the box over a wall of defenders and into the top left corner of the net for his third goal of the season (Watch Goal).
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Saturday when it travels to take on Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).
Voting for MLS Player of the Month presented by Etihad is open to public. The five final nominees are chosen by editorial staff.
March Voting Results
Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata – 38.54%
Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake – 22.82%
Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti – 18.35%
FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz – 10.34%
Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin – 9.94%