The smallest man on the pitch came up big for Toronto FC as 5-foot-3 Joao Plata scored a penalty and assisted on the game-winner as the Red beat the Houston Dynamo 2-1 on Saturday. It was TFC's first MLS victory in more than a month and ended a six-match unbeaten run.
Plata, who went unselected in the most recent SuperDraft, was given his first MLS start and responded with his first MLS goal and assist. Plata had looked dangerous in previous appearances and had played well during TFC's Nutrilite Canadian Championship semifinal against FC Edmonton.
After giving TFC the lead with his 50th minute penalty, Plata helped push the lead to 2-0 when he set up Maicon Santos with an outstanding through ball in the 81st minute. Santos was able to collect Plata's service in stride, made a couple of touches and then beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall inside the far post.
The loss was the second straight for the Dynamo who entered the week on a six-match unbeaten run. They lost to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at home on Wednesday.