ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)

19. Toronto FC – Let’s accentuate the positive, thin as it is: TFC has two weeks to prep for an Oct. 20 meeting with Montreal. It’s a chance to salvage just a little regional pride around BMO. (That’s all we got.)

18. Chivas USA – After the latest slobber-knocker, a 4-0 drilling up in Vancouver, the Goats finally found goal in a 1-1 draw at home against Dallas.

17. Colorado Rapids – Tough to say what’s going to happen around DSG Park in the offseason, but it’s safe to say that 4-1 losses at home (even to the Western Conference leaders) will not help anyone’s cause.

16. Portland Timbers – Taking a 3-0 thumping to the club’s most hated rival qualifies as “insult to injury.”  I could be wrong about this one, but manager Gavin Wilkinson certainly seems to lump a lot of blame on the players – the players that he helped select in his former role.

15. New England Revolution – Bright spots in a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia included Darrius Barnes (pictured) and Juan Toja. Going the other way: Benny Feilhaber and Jerry Bengtson, who are not exactly proving they are worthy of their higher salaries.

14. Montréal Impact – Nice job to go into BBVA Compass Stadium and push Houston as they did in a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, the conversation over whether Alessandro Nesta belongs in MLS at this point is growing.

13. Philadelphia Union – Well, well, well! Look who just won two games in a week! With a game in hand, it’s possible John Hackworth’s team could pull past Montreal and finish 7th in the 10-team East. I know it’s not much, but that looks like a worthy target at this point.

12. FC Dallas – The club’s playoff hopes are on serious life-support. Two of the team’s three matches to close regular season were against down-and-out Chivas USA. Six points were an absolute must. Sunday’s draw at the Home Depot Center has the club precariously perched; one foot in the 2012 grave, the other on a banana peel, as they say. Brek Shea was bothered by minor injuries and left behind on the important trip, but did get the U.S. call on Monday. Strange.

11. Columbus Crew – A late goal against Sporting Kansas City keeps things interesting. (Nice header, Eddie Gaven!) Now it’s about getting something out of an Oct. 20 match at D.C. United, and pulling points from RFK has not been easy for anyone this year. Dilly Duka’s second-half entrance was helpful last week. Meanwhile, the wait for  Federico Higuain’s next goal or assist goes on and on.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.