|Photo by Nic Shellabarger|
I decided to really dive into Plata's numbers to see just how good his season has been. What I found surprised me. His stats paint a picture that shows he has been even better than I thought. It is pretty amazing when comparing his stats from this year to those from last year.
Plata had a respectable 2013 season scoring 4 goals and contributing 8 assists in 1645 minutes of play. That translates to .22 goals and .44 assists per 90 minutes that he played. This season Plata has been on the field for 394 minutes. In that time he has scored 5 goals and has 2 assists. That translated to 1.14 goals and .46 assists per 90 minutes played.
It is good to see that Plata's assists are staying consistent with last year and his goal scoring has gone through the roof. But how has Plata improved so much from last season? I believe there are two parts to that answer. He has been more aggressive and he has been much more accurate.
Last season Plata took 50 shots over the course of the season. That comes out to 2.7 shots every 90 minutes that he played. This season he has taken 16 shots so far or 3.6 shots for every 90 minutes that he has played. So it is easy to see that he has been more involved in the RSL offense.
The real key is how accurate he has become with his shots. Last season 38% of his shots were on goal and 8% of all shots he took hit the back of the net. Both of these numbers were the lowest among the 5 RSL forwards. This season an incredible 75% of his shots have been on goal and 31% of his shots have hit the back of the net. Both of these are now the highest among the RSL forwards.
The team as a whole is also playing really well when Plata is on the field. RSL as a team have scored 11 times while Plata has been on the pitch or a goal every 35 minutes. When Plata has not played, the team is scoring a goal every 83 minutes. How does that compare to last season? The team scored every 51 minutes when he played last year they scored every 56 minutes when he didn't play.
Plata is also continuing to get other players involved in the attack. To go along with his 2 assists he has also registered 13 key passes (a pass that leads to a shot that wasn't a goal). This ranks 2nd on the team only behind Javier Morales. This is another area where he has vastly improved over last season as he only had 18 key passes all year. Here is another way to look at it. Every 26 minutes Plata is setting up one of his teammates to take a shot. Last season that number was every 63 minutes.
The all-around improvement of Plata's game is pretty incredible. Not only is he scoring goals at a high pace, he is also getting his teammates involved in the attack. The question now is how long can he keep up producing at this rate?