Kick Off: New York City FC sign David Villa, Seattle Sounders hand Real Salt Lake first loss

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

1. NYC FC ANNOUNCE FIRST SIGNING, AND IT'S A BIG DEAL

The rumors turned out to be true. New York City FC announced its first player signing on Monday morning, and it is a big one: World Cup and European Championship winner David Villa is coming to MLS. Villa will join Spain in Washington, D.C. this week to play a "Road to Brazil" match at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Saturday as part of a doubleheader with the D.C. United-Columbus Crew match. Villa's signing begs the question: Are the Frank Lampard rumors true, too?

2. USA PREPARATIONS GOING STRONG

As the US national team continue their World Cup preparations, they’re now two-for-two following a 2-1 win over Turkey in front of a sold-out Red Bull Arena (watch highlights here). While Fabian Johnson helped set the USA on their way with a superb strike, what lessons were there to be learned from this warm-up match and how did the players rank?

3. UNBEATEN NO LONGER

13 games in, and Real Salt Lake suffered their first loss of the season following a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders (watch highlights here). The win extends Seattle’s lead in the Western Conference to five points, and Marco Pappa is happy to have found a home in the Pacific Northwest. For RSL though, head coach Jeff Cassar is adamant, “it just wasn’t our day.”

4. MORALES MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN WHITECAPS WIN

The Portland Timbers may have scored first, but the Vancouver Whitecaps came out on top in a thrilling 4-3 win over their Cascadia rivals (watch highlights here) on Sunday night. Part of the ‘Caps success came from two penalty kicks, a fact that Caleb Porter and the Timbers are non-too pleased about, but the majority came from “difference maker” Pedro Morales

5. DONOVAN DOES IT AGAIN

Now that he’s broken the all-time regular-season goals record, Landon Donovan can’t stop scoring. The Galaxy star notched another goal, his third in two games, against the Chicago Fire to help secure a 1-1 draw (watch highlights here). Despite the outcome, Fire head coach Frank Yallop was full of praise for his young players.

6. FREE-SCORING RAPIDS DOWN DYNAMO

Having beaten the Montreal Impact 4-1 last Saturday, it seems the Colorado Rapids have finally found their scoring boots, securing a 3-0 win over the struggling Houston Dynamo (watch highlights here) in what Pablo Mastroeni labelled “our most complete performance.” For Houston, it’s now three defeats in a row, and Dominic Kinnear was typically blunt in his assessment: “We just didn’t play well.”

7. IMPACT SHOCK THE REVOLUTION

What happens when the New England Revolution, the best team in the Eastern Conference, take on the Montreal Impact, the worst team in the Eastern Conference? Why, a 2-0 win for the Impact, of course (watch highlights here). Jay Heaps acknowledged after the game that his side’s performance was flat, while for the Impact, their preparation paid off.

8. UNITED CLOSE THE GAP

With New England slipping up against the Impact, D.C. United were able to close the gap at the top of the Eastern standings to just two points following a 1-0 win over fellow conference challengers Sporting Kansas City (watch highlights here). The win came thanks to a long-range goal from Fabian Espindola, who overcame illness to play, while SKC coach Peter Vermes, as usual, was unhappy with the officiating.

9. PAREJA TAKES IT PERSONALLY

FC Dallas extended their winless streak to eight games after a 2-1 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes (watch highlights here). Dallas coach Oscar Pareja may not have any more positive things to say about his team, but for the Earthquakes, they seem to have found a willing replacement for the Brazil-bound Chris Wondolowski .

10. CASEY FINDS THE NET

The Philadelphia Union bounced back from consecutive defeats to record just their third win of the year, beating Chivas USA 3-0 (watch highlights here). While two goals from Conor Casey helped the Union on their way, Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was left unimpressed by officiating decisions leading up to the first goal.

11. DONEIL’S REDEMPTION

Toronto FC left it late, and after Jermain Defoe twice drew them level, local boy Doneil Henry was on hand to secure a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew (watch highlights here). It’s not the first time Columbus have let a lead slip away this season and, according to coach Gregg Berhalter, “There’s no way this can happen again.”

12. JOHANNSSON’S NEW DEAL

Having signed a new contract with domestic side AZ Alkmaar, US international Aron Johannsson can focus solely on the upcoming World Cup campaign, and the striker is determined to make his mark with the team.

13. EL TRI WIN GAME BUT LOSE PLAYERS

Mexico may have won their own World Cup warm-up game, beating Ecuador 3-1, but at a high cost, as both Luis Montes and Rafa Marquez left the match with injuries. While the game served as a warm-up, the two nations could meet again in more competitive circumstances next season, with both Mexico and Jamaica confirmed for the 2015 Copa America in Chile.

14. LESSONS TO LIVE BY

Charlie Davies has certainly been through plenty in his short career so far and, while the New England Revolution striker is finding playing time hard to come by with his MLS side right now, he has some advice that any young professional would do well to listen to.

15. SAN FRAN TO BRAZIL

The USA’s road to Brazil preparations started in San Francisco last Wednesday with their 2-0 win over Azerbaijan. However, for one Dutch fan, while his own road to Brazil started in the same city, he’s taking a very different route.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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