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Ezequiel Barco ranked No. 2 in MLS 22 under 22 list for 2019

Zeke makes the list for the 2nd straight year.

SOCCER: OCT 24 MLS Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLS on Tuesday and Wednesday unveiled its annual list of the league’s best players under the age of 22. For the 2nd straight year, Ezequiel Barco placed on the list, ranking No. 2. It’s a jump from last season where he showed up at No. 6.

The 2019 season was much better for Barco as he began to fully acclimate and assert himself in the Atlanta attack, despite the team’s slow start as a whole. He only played in 18 MLS matches due to injury and international duty for Argentina at the U-20 World Cup, but he recorded 4 goals and 3 assists. In 31 games in 2018, he scored 4 goals and assisted on 2 others.

And as a result, Barco has been linked to clubs overseas. Last week, Portuguese power Sporting Lisbon were reportedly connected to the 20-year-old as a replacement for Bruno Fernandes via a winter transfer as Fernandes was a potential target for countryman Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur, but that does not appear to be in the works as of now as Spurs have reportedly ended its pursuit. And this week, 2 of Italy’s biggest clubs, Roma and Inter, were said to be keeping an eye on the young Argentine, but not until the summer transfer window.

For the time being, though, Barco will be in the red, black and gold for the foreseeable future, and will hopefully be set for a quick start to a 2020 campaign that opens with Concacaf Champions League.