|Toronto FC's Joao Plata is going back to his former club, LDU Quito, on a six-month loan. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters file photo)
TORONTO - Joao Plata is still a Toronto FC player -- but not for the rest of 2012.
Team executive Earl Cochrane confirmed Wednesday the club is close to finalizing a deal that would send the Ecuadorian back to his former club, LDU Quito, on a six-month loan, bringing an end to a bungled situation Toronto and the diminutive winger have looked bad orchestrating since Saturday.
"(Plata) will be a Toronto FC player in the course of (the) loan," Cochrane said during a teleconference Wednesday. "At the end of six months, he will be a Toronto FC player."
After Spanish reports linked Plata to a South American move last week, TFC brushed off the potential loan as mere rumours during Saturday's match with New York.
Going against his club's statement, a game of cat and mouse opened up when Plata told an mlssoccer.com Spanish language reporter that he would leave BMO Field this week for LDU Quito of Ecuador, a story the club still denied despite reporters witnessing Plata cleaning out his BMO Field locker following Saturday's league fixture.
Head coach Paul Mariner said the 2011 draft pick was scheduled to travel with the club to Dallas but failed to show at training Tuesday morning ahead of TFC's flight -- something that prolonged a confusing few days of finger-pointing and back-and-forth banter.
"He's got immense talent," Mariner told The Toronto Sun prior to Wednesday's match. "It's difficult as a (teenager) coming into this league with all the demands and the language and so forth "¦ I was a little disappointed he left to go to (Ecuador) when I had him in the squad for (Dallas)."
The club hopes to conclude what it called a temporary move by this weekend.
"I still have great faith in (Plata)," Mariner continued. "He's a talented young man and he's only a kid. We all make a couple of mistakes."
While the Reds acknowledged toying with a move last week, it appears Plata forced their hand by carelessly giving out Spanish interviews and failing to make himself available for the club's recent trip before a deal could be finalized.
"The communication between (Quito) and him was probably premature," Cochrane said.
It appears something got lost in translation.