Kick Off: Landon Donovan's contract a "tipping point" for Major League Soccer?

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today

1. DONOVAN’S DONE DEAL

The LA Galaxy held a press conference Thursday to reveal what most fans already knew: Landon Donovan isn’t going anywhere. While his new contract may not be worth “$500m for 20 years” as the star joked, the multi-year contract could see him become the league’s top earner based on incentive bonuses. It’s a deal that, along with the recent numbers for Clint Dempsey, could serve as a “tipping point” in how MLS is viewed around the world.

2. MLS MILESTONES OVER EUROPE

Donovan also revealed that he had received some big offers from European clubs, including some top level English teams. Could a reunion with former Everton boss David Moyes have been on the cards at Manchester United? Donovan didn’t exactly deny it. So, what’s left for Donovan to achieve in MLS? Plenty, as it turns out.

3. QUAKES FALTER IN GUATEMALA

So much for having a run at the CCL. San Jose’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of CD Heridia (watch highlights here) has not only made life more difficult for themselves, but the Montreal Impact as well. While the Earthquakes' two remaining games are both at home, they now face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stage. Meanwhile, Club Tijuana and its contingent of American players put themselves firmly in control of their CCL group with a 1-0 win over El Salvador’s El Firpo.

4. OUTLAWS ISSUE STATEMENT

The announcement that the Seattle chapter of the American Outlaws would be coordinating all support at the US-Mexico game got a lot of people awfully mad in a hurry. Except that it wasn’t entirely true. The Outlaws themselves released this clear statement to clarify their position. There was also the compelling argument that if so many people were angered by the news, perhaps they should step up.

5. SETTING THE STANDARD

With Real Salt Lake riding high, you could argue that no other player is more important to the team’s success than Kyle Beckerman, the league leader in passing. Fresh from also topping the Castrol Index, Jeff Bradley talks with Beckerman about his history in MLS, the origin of those dreadlocks and being in a band with Pablo Mastroeni.

6. GOATS ON TV

Things might finally be starting to go right for Chivas USA, fresh from beating the New York Red Bulls the club has managed to secure not one, not two but three TV deals to show the majority of their nine remaining games in both English and Spanish.

7. ANOTHER CHALLENGE

Didier Drogba would be interested in joining MLS (haven't we heard that before?), according to an interview the Ivorian Striker gave to SI.com. Now, you can put this in the pile marked ‘polite answer’ if you like, along with every other player who ever gets asked the question, but what makes this one just a little different is that, if you read the interview, Drogba seems to be following events in the league and nearly joined MLS once before.

8. IMPACT SURGE AHEAD

“There’s no such thing as a rebuilding year,” states Montreal Impact owner and president Joey Saputo, whose team currently sits first place in the Eastern conference, poised to make a run at the Supporters' Shield in only their second year. For rivals Toronto FC, however, it's a much different situation. How did it come to this?

9. JACK AND THE BENCH

It’s been a tough few months for Jack McInerney. After an uneventftul call-up io the US squad for the Gold Cup, McInerney has failed to recapture the same form that made him the club's top scorer. It culminated on Sunday when the striker was dropped to the subs bench for the game against New England. Can he work his way back into the starting lineup?

10. CANADA ROSTER

No one can accuse Canada’s new coach of not being thorough. The Canadian FA has revealed the first squad of the Benito Floro era, and it’s a big one. With 33 names on the list it features a number of young players and academy prospects as well as senior statesmen such as Dwayne De Rosario and Iain Hume. The one notable absence is Will Johnson, still nursing an injury and with vital games coming up for the Timbers.

11. BRIGHT WHITE FUTURE AHEAD

One young Canadian in particular had a great day on Wednesday. As well as being called into the Canadian national team, Whitecaps residency product Sam Adekugbe also signed to the MLS side’s first team roster, becoming the club's seventh Homegrown player and first Homegrown defender. While it shows a commitment to developing their young talent, it’s not the only market the Canadian side is exploring.

12. SOUNDERS RETURN FIRE

In what could be the final word for now surrounding last Sunday's Sounders-Timbers matchup and the controversy with Portland defender Pa Modou Kah, Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid kept his comments brief but effecitve when he met the media on Wednesday.

13. THE DREAM OF ALL EGYPTIANS

“The idea from the start is to get to the World Cup,” that’s the easy part for Bob Bradley. What makes it complicated, as we all know, is that he’s trying to do it in Egypt. Hear about some of the latest trials and tribulations facing the former US head coach as he phones in to the Dan Patrick show.

14. KELLER'S CASTLE

Did you know Kasey Keller once lived in a castle? That was one of many interesting topics that came up when the US legend took part in an amusing interview with the Guardian newspaper.

15. HANGING WITH THE PROS

Ahead of the Saturday's clash between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United (8pm ET, NBC Sports Network) the latest in MLSsoccer.com's series of Google+ hangouts features both Dax McCarty and Perry Kitchen. McCarty’s presence alone should make it worth a watch and you can tune in live at 1:30 pm ET. If you have any questions you want asked, click the link and leave them in the comments section