Kick Off: Montreal Impact make it two titles in a row; David Villa heads down under before NYCFC

Montreal win Cup, Kick Off

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USA Today Sports

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1.  MONTREAL DO IT AGAIN

A goal from Felipe was enough to see the Montreal Impact beat Toronto FC 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) and win the Canadian Championship for the second year in a row (watch highlights here). Impact coach Frank Klopas hopes the title can help change his side’s season, while losing boss Ryan Nelsen is trying to look at the positives.

2. DAVID DOWN UNDER

There has been a growing trend of Spanish players joining MLS this year, but David Villa’s move to New York City FC is without a doubt the most high profile of them all and, according to his international teammate Juan Mata, “Hopefully he’s opening the door for more players like him.” Yet Villa has one more stop to make before joining NYCFC in January.

3. SIZING UP THEIR RIVALS

With New York City FC announcing their first signing on Monday, suddenly the team has gotten very real. As such, what do their soon-to-be rivals, the New York Red Bulls, make of their new opponents? According to Mike Petke, there's far too much of 2014 left to start worrying about 2015. Make no mistake, though, that’ll come later.

4. RSL AND CREW SPLIT THE POINTS

Real Salt Lake decided to try something new on Wednesday evening, but once again gave up a late goal which cost them all three points, drawing 1-1 with the Columbus Crew (watch highlights here). The point moves the crew back into the playoff places, yet despite the comeback, Crew boss Gregg Berhalter feels, “The team doesn’t have full confidence right now.”

5. SCORELESS DRAW BETWEEN RAPIDS, FIRE

With both sides making changes to their lineups for one reason or another, the 0-0 scoreline between the Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire (watch highlights here) was perhaps a fair result. Certainly Frank Yallop didn’t think either side played particularly well, and his Colorado counterpart Pablo Mastroeni believes he made the right choices on the night.

6. LOAN WATCH

For one reason or another, Sporting Kansas City are switching things up with their loan players, recalling Mikey Lopez from USL PRO affiliate Orlando City and immediately sending him to their other affiliate, the Oklahoma City Energy. They’re not the only ones moving players around, though, as the Portland Timbers sent Rodney Wallace to Arizona United SC as he continues his recovery from injury.

7. PAPPA FINDS HIS FEET

After a difficult start to his time with the Seattle Sounders, Guatemalan international Marco Pappa is finally showing exactly what he’s capable off. What’s the difference? If you ask his teammates and his coach, all Pappa needed was a little bit of confidence.

8. DON’T DOUBT THE DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo may be on a three-game losing streak for the second time this year, but they still find themselves fourth in the Eastern Conference. As recent history has shown, it’s never wise to write off Dominic Kinnear and the Dynamo.

9. WORLD CUP PIPE DREAM?

Theres no doubt that Jurgen Klinsmann wants to help improve the US national team, nor that he’s done so in his short time in charge. So why are people up in arms about a quote from six months ago? Either way, Klinsmann has certainly overhauled the squad.

10. ENGLISH SUCCESS CLEARED THE WAY FOR CAMERON

Geoff Cameron is looking more and more likely to be Jurgen Klinsmann’s first-choice center back for the World Cup, a decision the defender himself feels has been influenced by his success with English Premier League side Stoke City.

11. VOLATILE GAME AHEAD

There’s only one more official game for the USA before they head off to Brazil, and with the team set to face off against Nigeria in Jacksonville on Saturday, Super Eagles striker Shola Ameobi believes, “It’s going to be volatile.”

12. MEXICO PROBLEMS

With the dust settling on Mexico’s lackluster 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which El Tri players were the real winners and losers from the encounter? Plus, what effect might a Javier Hernández struggling for confidence have on the team heading into Brazil?

 13. SABORI-NO

While Real Salt Lake insist they “don’t need to panic” following Álvaro Saborío’s injury and subsequent operation, nowhere will that absence be felt more keenly than with the Costa Rican national team. Will the loss of the forward affect the CONCACAF team's chances at the tournament?

14.  JOURNEY TO ORLANDO

Orlando City have already started building their squad for next year’s debutant MLS season, and it seems they already have their own version of Osvaldo Alonso. Yordany Álvarez, technically still on loan from Real Salt Lake, retraces how he came to play in Orlando after defecting from Cuba.

15. AUSTIN-ORLANDO-LOUISVILLE

Louisville has been officially announced as the new destination for Orlando City’s USL PRO franchise, with Louisville FC taking over the rights for 2015 and beyond. The move brings soccer to another new market and proves to be another happy by-product of Orlando’s step up to MLS. Could MLS’ 21st team be getting ready for an announcement of its own?

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