ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following eight rounds of regular season play.

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

19. D.C. United – Lionard Pajoy got his second goal this year, and good on him. But United still needs more scoring. Especially if that previously reliable back line is going to go all pear-shaped, as it did in last week’s killer loss at home to Philly. That was United’s third consecutive home loss, and it is must be getting hot in the doggone RFK kitchen!

18. New England Revolution – Clearly, they deserve a break here. If ever a team had reason to be distracted, the Revs had it last week. Besides, a 4-1 loss at New York was really more “2-1” in tone. RBNY hit two late as the Revs bravely pressed for an equalizer.

17. Seattle Sounders – How massive was a 1-0 win at Colorado? Along those lines, how massive was Obafemi Martins’ first goal for his new club? Now we’ll see if just a little injection of confidence can make this team what we thought it could be all along, or if this thing was just “one in a row,” as I like to say.

16. Chicago Fire – Jeff Larentowicz to the rescue! His late game-winner on Saturday is all that stands between the Fire and an even more mediocre home record. Frank Klopas’ team is 2-2 at Toyota Park this year.

15. Toronto FC – C’mon, you Reds? Really? Giving up a late goal? At home? To 10-man Houston? That is SO old school Reds. We thought things were getting better under Ryan Nelsen … but this just can’t happen, guys!

14. Colorado Rapids – The Rapids just couldn’t do enough to keep the good vibes vibing. Two wins in a row needed to be three as they faced a reeling side from Seattle. But Oscar Pareja’s men couldn’t turn up a goal at home and fell to the Sounders, 1-0.

13. Philadelphia Union – Must. .. Avoid. … Talking about … But it’s hard … Oh, never mind! We have to do it. We have to mention Jack McInerney once again. He’s our ProSoccerTalk Player of the Week, you know. He hit two in the Union’s big 3-2 road win Sunday at D.C. United. Conor Casey had quite a match as well.

12. Chivas USA – “El Chelis” walked off the field before final whistle during Saturday’s setback in Utah? What’s that all about? Find a striker who can make a penalty kick (they have failed to connect from the 12-yard spot for two consecutive matches now) and maybe the results will be more to your liking.

11. Columbus – Robert Warzycha’s men got oh-so-close to grabbing a road point, but a late goal conceded in Chicago turned that into the latest exercise in frustration for a team that’s solidly ensconced in Major League Soccer’s middle class. For now, at least. This weekend is big for the men in Yellow: they play D.C. United in their third home match of 2013 – still looking for their first home win in 2013. See? Big.

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Man City reportedly agrees $86m price for Laporte

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Sky Sports reporter Guillem Balague is reporting that Manchester City is set to seal an $86 million purchase of center back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, and all that’s left is for City to agree to contract terms with the player.

[ MORE: MCFC into League Cup Final ]

The 23-year-old has been with the Basque outfit since 2012, making more than 200 appearances for Athletic. Balague issued a Tweet saying Man City opted for Laporte over $34 million Jonny Evans of West Brom.

Laporte is a smooth and technical passer at center back who shouldn’t have a problem with the physical nature of the Premier League either. He’s yet to break into the French national team, and is only the second French player to play for Bilbao.

Rumors have circulated for some time, though a Tuesday report was dismissed because Laporte was in advanced discussions with Man City during a previous transfer window when he changed his mind.

It’s more big money from City, a boon for Athletic Bilbao, and terrific competition for John Stones and any Man City center back not named Nicolas Otamendi (and Vincent Kompany when healthy).

Rapids hire Patel as director; Highest ranking female exec in MLS

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The Colorado Rapids have hired Ena Patel as their new director of player personnel. She becomes Major League Soccer highest ranking female executive, according to the Denver Post.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s MLS coverage ]

According to the Rapids, she’ll report to club GM Padraig Smith and “oversee player contracts, salary budget, regulatory compliance, and soccer operations protocols.”

The move comes about a month-and-a-half after Sporting KC hired Megan Cameron as an assistant director of player personnel, the first woman hired to an MLS team’s technical staff.

Patel’s resume is outlandishly strong, though this is her first foray into the sports world. Here are some words from Smith, from ColoradoRapids.com:

“Ena’s hiring is the final piece of the puzzle for us on the front office side,” Smith, the Rapids executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement released by the club. “Bringing in a sharp, legal mind who can oversee our contractual processes and complex league mechanisms is a really important part of ensuring that we’re fielding the best possible team. We can’t wait for her to get started.”

Guardiola happy to reach final, knows Man City to be judged by hardware

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Bristol City made its interesting late with a pair of goals, but Manchester City’s League Cup destiny was never in jeopardy in a 3-2 second leg win at Ashton Gate Stadium on Tuesday.

[ RECAP: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

That sent the club into the Feb. 25 final with a 5-3 aggregate win, and it’s very difficult not to leap to the story line that is Pep Guardiola‘s chance at a first significant title in his reign at Man City.

The closest City came to hardware last season was being bounced by Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinal. This time, City is the favorite to win at least three of its four entered competitions: the Premier League, the League Cup, and the FA Cup.

But to hear Pep say it, for now the club is just happy to have earned one final berth. From the BBC:

“We are so happy to be there, to reach this final. We played an amazing game until 2-0 and then we lost control, these type of games never end until the end. This is a lesson for next weekend in Cardiff in the FA Cup and especially for the Champions League.

“It’s not for me, it’s for Manchester City, a club who are trying to reach another level. … I know that we will be judged by trophies we win but we are so happy. Nobody can take away what we have done, but Chelsea or Arsenal are strong teams.”

Guardiola was serious about not overlooking the Robins, as he rolled out a very similar lineup to the full-strength bunch that beat Newcastle United 3-1 at the weekend. That may have cost City late, but it had already built a 4-1 aggregate lead with two superior away goals.

Yes, Guardiola is a man who measures himself by the way his club plays but also by winning in that attractive fashion. Expect a determined club to stride into Wembley late next month.

Chelsea and Arsenal square off Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium for the right to match up with Man City, who won the tournament in 2014 and 2016. Even year dominance?