Kick Off: Is Marco Pappa the missing piece for the Seattle Sounders?

Toronto FC fan in Kick Off

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USA TODAY Sports

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

1. THE MISSING PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

Marco Pappa is a Seattle Sounder now, and while it may not be where he thought he would end up, the Guatemalan is excited for the challenge ahead. “I’m the type of player who likes to play good football. I always think about the team,” is how Pappa describes himself, and he could be just the piece the club has been missing.

2. FARFANS IN MEXICO

Gabriel Farfan is following in his brother Michael's footsteps to Mexico after Chivas USA agreed a six-month loan deal with Liga MX side Chiapas that includes an option to buy. It’s the latest in a growing number of transfers or loans between MLS and Liga MX but, as FoxSports.com columnist Kyle McCarthy explains, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

2. BRAND NEW CREW

After buying the Columbus Crew last year, new owner Anthony Precourt has a vision for the club both on and off the field, With a new coach in place, he wants to emulate the success of teams like Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City on the field, while off the field it looks as though the club could be in line for a new crest. However, following the release of his comments about the city's "blue-collar" identity, Precourt took to twitter to explain his comments a little further.

4. GALAXYS COLLIDE

With the launch of their very own USL PRO franchise, the LA Galaxy have completed what Goal.com describes as a “potentially game-changing investment.” Now the two sides look set to square up as the LA Galaxy will face off against the LA Galaxy II in a free preseason match open to the general public.

5.  ROGERS VS. MAGEE

Robbie Rogers is probably pretty tired of the direct comparisons to reigning league MVP Mike Magee. After a 2013 season disrupted by injury, he was never going to measure up last year, but now he's hopeful people will forget about all the comparisons: “I’m a very, very different player to Mike.”

6. QUAKES CONTRACTS

The San Jose Earthquakes have secured another two pieces of their squad for the coming season with the news that both Jordan Stewart and Shea Salinas have signed new contracts with the club. If you feel like you’ve heard the Stewart news before, you may well have done, as the defender announced it himself via Twitter back in November.

7. COACHING FAMILY

The Montreal Impact have brought in Nikolaos Kounenakis as a new assistant coach. Kouenenakis holds a UEFA pro coaching license and previously spent one season in MLS as a player with the Kansas City Wizards. The new coach had previously been with the Impact on a trial basis, but impressed enough to be offered a more long-term deal. His job will now be to focus on tightening the defense.

8. WHITECAPS' 40TH ANNIVERSARY

It’s not just the San Jose Earthquakes celebrating 40 years in 2014, and the Vancouver Whitecaps have revealed some initial details about their own celebrations. The main event will revolve around a game against the Earthquakes, the Whitecaps' first-ever opponents, which takes place almost 40 years to the day from the original encounter.

9. SELLING OUT AT BMO FIELD

The regular season is getting closer and, with all the excitement and buzz around Toronto FC following their offseason signings, it looks like the fans are coming back to the team in numbers as TFC are anticipating a sold-out BMO Field this year.

10. CAMP CUPCAKE

In the past it had been referred to by some as Camp Cupcake, yet this year, the US national team's training camp may have done away with that tagline altogether.  Don’t expect every year to be like this one though, and Jurgen Klinsmann himself has said that future camps may be used to develop younger players.

11. ANOTHER NEW 'KEEPER

The Philadelphia Union have added a third goalkeeper to their roster with Brian Holt joining the club after impressing as a trialist. With the number of players joining the Union on the rise, expect to see a few players get cut as John Hackworth explains: “At the end of the day, by March 1, you’ve got to be roster compliant and again there comes another set of cuts."

12. SUMMER SCHEDULE

When it comes to live soccer matches, some fans in the US are going to have plenty of choices this summer. Not only is the International Challenge Cup coming back, with the cities and teams being announced on Tuesday, but Major League Soccer is organizing a series of international matches in the build-up to the World Cup.

13. NO MÁS VELA

Carlos Vela has been in international exile for some time now, and any hopes of the player making a triumphant return in time for the summer were ended on Monday when the Mexican FA confirmed that Vela would not be part of its World Cup squad. After it was reported that his lack of commitment to El Tri was the reason he will be left out, Vela himself later released a letter explaining his decision.

14. THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE

At a ceremony held last Friday, Hicabi “Turk” Emekli was inducted into the Virginia DC Soccer Hall of Fame. That name may not mean particularly much to you but read this story from The Washington Post and learn why Emekli was one of US soccer’s early pioneers.

15. MY NYCFC

New York City FC are still in need of an official crest and, with that in mind, they’ve encouraging fans to have a go at designing their own. Fair warning for anyone taking it seriously though, you’ll be hard pressed to beat this design.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

ExtraTime Radio: Wondolowski talks USMNT heroics

Postgame: Who won the MLS postseason?

Who is the spine of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad?

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