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MLS Notes: Plata re-signs with Toronto, Crew sign Speas and more


photo by Nick Turchiaro/

After uncertainty clouded his future with Toronto FC, Joao Plata is staying right where he is.

One of MLS's most technically-gifted players, Plata has agreed to re-sign with Toronto FC on a multi-year deal. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 19-year-old Plata was a revelation for Toronto last season, finishing the regular season with three goals and five assists in 26 games. The Ecuadorian international also contributed to the team's current run to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, scoring four goals and assisting on another in five matches.

Plata and Toronto FC will play in their first ever CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 7.

Here are more notes from around MLS:


One day before the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, the Columbus Crew have landed one of college's top players.

Columbus has signed North Carolina midfielder Ben Speas to a homegrown deal, the club announced on Wednesday. Speas, who was born in Stow, Ohio, was able to sign as a homegrown player due to him having played for Crew academy teams when he was younger.

The 20-year-old Speas, who attended Crew games as a fan when he was younger, said it is a dream come true to play for Columbus.


Eddie Robinson has hung up his cleats.

The Houston Dynamo defender retired on Wednesday, ending an 11-year career that saw him win four MLS Cups.

The 33-year-old centerback played the first five seasons of his career with the San Jose Earthquakes before moving with the club to Houston in 2006. During his time with the Dynamo, Robinson played in 96 regular season games, though last season he only started twice.

Robinson will now work with the Dynamo Academy and will serve as a color commentator for multiple TV and radio broadcasts. He is also set to become the head coach of the Dynamo's U-16 team in the fall.


The Chicago Fire have bolstered their attacking options, signing Uruguayan forward Federico Puppo on Wednesday. Puppo, 25, last played for Uruguayan club Danubio FC, where he made 10 appearances and scored two goals during the 2011 Apertura campaign.

Puppo joins Rafael Robayo as the second South American player to join the Fire this offseason.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Happy to see Toronto keep Plata? What do you think of Columbus signing Speas? What was your favorite Eddie Robinson moment? How do you see Puppo doing in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. ComeOnMan is a xenophobe, but to be fair, “American” is the accepted demonym for citizens of the United States.

  2. +1

    Kids who are entering the league at 18-22 years of age would have been 2-6 when MLS was formed, so they pretty much grew up with a US soccer league in existence.

  3. I always liked ERob. I’m also getting old as I can remember when he was a fresh-faced kid getting his first match for SJ. They grow up so fast!

  4. Can someone smarter than me explain the homegrown rule a bit?

    Specifically, in an earlier post today it was mentioned that Luis Silva was prevously involved with Chivas USA’s U19 team. Why is he not considered a homegrown player? Number of games? Training sessions? You’d have to guess Chivas has tried.

  5. ERob was a beast and will be missed. Shame that knee injury reduced his last few years to the bench. Huge for both of Houston’s Cups. Cheers.

  6. It’s kind of cool that MLS is at the point now where a young kid (Speas) is excited about playing for his hometown club because that’s who he watched growing up.


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