By Phil Hecken, with Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck
I’m back again this weekend with Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck who last weekend brought you their review of the 2017 MLS Western Conference, and this week they’re back to give you a look at the east. Here. We. Go.
Rounding out the rest of this year’s new looks in MLS and with the season officially underway as of last night, we’re back with a rundown of the Eastern Conference. We’ll slightly switch up the order this weekend, so first we’ll look at expansion Atlanta United followed by the 5 teams with new primary uniforms and then finishing with the 5 teams with new secondary uniforms.
A couple of other notes before we get started: first, you can see every uniform to be worn in the league this season here which again effectively includes all of last season’s new uniforms and all of this season’s new uniforms (there’s always the possibility of third kits being released during the season).
Also, as an interesting detail, of the 24 new uniforms released this season, 3 of them incorporate a collar/buttons, 4 include buttons without a collar, and the other 17 don’t have either. For comparison, this is actually a significant increase over last year where out of the 21 new uniforms, none(!) had a collar and only 2 had buttons without a collar. Personal preferences of these different neck looks aside, I’m genuinely curious who makes these decisions and what impact coaches/players have on them. Any further insight out there?
And now for the rest of the new uniforms…
Kyle: Expansion Atlanta enter MLS with a unique red/black/gold color scheme and begin with a primary look that they will instantly own – red and black vertical stripes with black shorts and gold accents. This will be complemented by a secondary look featuring a just off-white jersey and red shorts and accents. I couldn’t help but notice that the red and black vertical stripe design differs in the logo and the jersey; in the logo the center stripe is red and on the jersey the center stripe is black, but my guess is that is done so that the off-center logo patch isn’t on a black background. Personally, I love the primary look and I don’t think it will take long for this to be one of the most recognizable (and best) looks in the league, and the secondary doesn’t resonate nearly as much with me, but it could be worse. Rating: 5 stars primary, 3 stars secondary
CJ: Is the home a bit of a copycat design? Yes. Does that stop it from being great? Absolutely not. The secondary almost whites are pretty solid, as well. Good all around.
Columbus Crew (primary + reclassified secondary)
Kyle: In an interesting move, Columbus released a new primary uniform as expected but also redesignated their 2016 third kit/2015 secondary kit as their current secondary kit, replacing their infamous city flag design from last season. Some might see the checkerboard side panels and think Kentucky basketball, Tennessee football, etc. but I really like this look for Columbus as that design element is a part of their logo and has long been used by their supporters. I’m a fan of the yellow/black look in general and the secondary is addition by subtraction by replacing last year’s colorful design which never looked quite right on the field. Rating: 5 stars primary, 4 stars secondary
CJ: I have to second Kyle on this one. I love the checkerboard, and I don’t think of any other programs when I see it. I think it fits well with their logo and overall design aesthetic. Double Good for both.
New York City (primary)
Kyle: In their second attempt at a primary uniform, NYCFC keeps effectively the same look but it has gone from sky blue/white to sky blue/navy. As I mentioned last week, this comes at the same time as SKC making the opposite change, so I’ll ask again: coincidence or coordinated? Rating: 4 stars
CJ: City flag incorporation definitely gets points. I’ll take it. Good.
New York Red Bulls (primary)
Kyle: The Red Bulls modified their primary design by removing the red from the sleeves and adding 11 thin diagonal stripes on the front of the jersey. It’s different yes but I’m not sure I understand the lines design and I really liked the red on the sleeves on their previous primary look. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: You were so close, NYRB, so close. This isn’t math class, what are those lines doing all over the shirt? Stupid.
Orlando City (primary)
Kyle: This was also Orlando City’s second attempt at a primary uniform and they retain their all-purple look and essentially swap white for gold as their accent color. This is an upgrade for me, and combined with a new stadium, the Lions will certainly have aesthetically pleasing home matches. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: Collar, automatic good. Sorry, I’m a sucker for those.
Toronto FC (primary)
Kyle: Toronto enters the new season as defending Eastern Conference champions and a new primary jersey that includes subtle horizontal stripes on the front and almost black sleeves and side paneling. They keep wanting to make the dark gray a thing and there’s too much of it here for me, although I wouldn’t be surprised if these grew on me. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: Strangely, I like these more than the Philadelphia version of the same template. Maybe it’s the gray, I don’t know. Can’t put my finger on it, but they’re good.
Chicago Fire (secondary)
Kyle: Chicago’s new secondary uniform features an all-shale look, matching the color on the inside of their logo. This is a color they haven’t worn in the past and it adds another color to the overall MLS uniform spectrum. The splash of red and navy help here, maybe a bit more would too? Rating: 3 stars
CJ: Simple, clean. I like the red lines, I’ll admit. Good.
DC United (secondary)
Kyle: DC introduced a new white secondary with red sleeves and a gray gradient design on the front of the jersey. I’m not sure what they were going for, but the front looks like an armor chestplate to me, and none of the colors or design elements seem to go together. Here’s hoping they wear their black primaries as much as possible. Rating: 1 star
CJ: Did we time travel to 1998 and someone forgot to tell me? Absolute no on this. Stupid.
Montreal Impact (secondary)
Kyle: Montreal’s new all-white secondary means there are 7 effectively all-white kits in MLS this season, and a couple more that are pretty close (LA primary, San Jose secondary). This is about as simple as it gets and even pairing the jersey with blue shorts would make a big difference for me. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: They’re white. I don’t know what else to say. Could be worse? Good.
New England Revolution (secondary)
Kyle: The Revs retain red as their main color for their secondary uniforms and will wear a red/white split-front jersey which is a classic soccer jersey design. I’m generally not a fan of asymmetrical designs so this one has always been off-putting to me, almost regardless of team/colors. And let’s be honest – if any team in the league needs a rebrand, it’s the Revs. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Yes! Big fan of this design. I love the split color, and the shorts and socks go perfectly with it. Enormous good.
Philadelphia Union (secondary)
Kyle: The Union round out the all-white uniform contingent, but do include some navy on the sleeves and down the sides. The added navy is a step in the right direction for me, but I’d love to see Philadelphia complement their great primary kit a bit more. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: As they are my hometown team, I’m obliged to like them, but color me unimpressed by the solid stripe down the sides. Simple contrasting sleeves would have been enough. Points for the snake logo, though. Good.
Thanks again to Phil for having us back and hope to be back again soon!
Sweet. Thanks fellas! Nice roundup heading into the season. I’ll have the boys back next time we have a league or tournament and there are new kits to share. Great stuff.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Interesting NOB treatment for Matt den Dekker, non-roster invitee of the Marlins (from Tom Ekstrand). UW readers will recall den Dekker had an all upper-case NOB and then upper/lower with the Mets, and the lower/upper continued with the Nats. … Rockies manager Bud Black is wearing No. 10 this season to honor Dick Howser. He gave his usual No. 20 to Ian Desmond (from Mike Chamernik). … Possible “new/old” Marlins logo? “I came across this looking for a digitized Marlins Sporing Training hat logo,” writes Yancy Yeater. “The article is old but has option in it that Jeffery Loria was considering for the team.” … Looks like this is a thing in the Cactus League. Team design on outside of souvenir cups, orange and white ST design inside. A’s and Cubs (from Nick Badders). … Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters have new We Love Hokkaido uniforms for 2017 (from Graveyard Baseball). … “Now that @NewEraCap bought advertising space on those @MLB caps, shouldn’t they pay us to wear them?” muses Eric Trager. … The Miami Marlins are making very minor changes to their logo (from Chris Creamer). … Marcus Stroman has some custom cleats with “HDMH brand/mission” logo (from Megan Brown). He’ll wear them in the WBC. … Maybe the St. Louis Cardinals don’t still have a powder blue jersey, but the Memphis Redbirds do (h/t Eric Spoonmore). … Although the Chicago White Sox wore shorts for a few (maybe four?) games in 1976, we all know they weren’t the first or only pro team to go with that look. The 1950-53 Hollywood Stars did too (great pic from Old Baseball Photos). … The Erie Seawolves have introduced “Fauxback” Friday, a season-long promotion in which the club will wear 1970s inspired jerseys. … “Came across this picture on the twitter sphere and, aside from everyone trying to figure out who the hitter is with Ted Williams, I found it interesting that his helmet appears to have the hanging Sox logo,” says Stephen Hayes. “This picture is clearly from the 1980s, and I was unaware of the Sox using that logo on helmets (I’m a lifelong Sox fan). Does it look like the hanging Sox logo to you? Do you know if their use of this logo on helmets, maybe in spring training?” … Pretty nice crisp home whites for Mizzou’s opener (from Zach). … The Salt Lake Bees will become the Salt Lake Angels on July 15th (from Patrick Thomas).
NFL News: Bob Brown was a Pro Bowl offensive tackle who played for Philly from 1964-68 and wore a helmet with exterior padding, notes Leo Strawn, Jr.. Back in those days, Pro Bowl helmets were the players’ regular season team helmets with a quick coat of paint and a sticker slapped on the side, creating this unusual Pro Bowl helmet. (Brown was traded to the Rams the following season, giving him the opportunity to keep his ’68 Eagles helmet as it was after the Pro Bowl.) … “This commercial’s apparently a few months old, but I just saw it today,” says Max Wagner. “It’s for a portable pump, and they make a Deflategate joke, including a guy in a generic blue #12 jersey. Pretty goofy and infomercial-y.” … Reader Tony Bruno Was running past a school today and “saw these (Rams) snow catchers. Felt they were appropriate, considering (Thurs)day’s Uni-Watch post.” … More Rams: “With the unveiling of those temporary Rams uniforms I stumbled upon this tweet” (which notes the Rams asked to go to blue and yellow between now and 2019. It was denied) says Florian Steininger. “Vinny is usually pretty spot on, so I believe this to be true.” He adds, “So maybe they’ll really go back to blue-yellow in 2019 and their current blue-white branding is in fact only temporary as that was the only and best way to get rid of as much gold as possible since it’s disliked in LA as a St. Louis color.” … Looks like Wafflebored is hard at work on his next project. … According to this article, here are six teams that need to go back to their old uniforms. It’s actually a pretty good list, but if it doesn’t include the Dolphins, it’s wrong. … Uni Review asks, “Is this the first time Nike has done a Combine cleat? Seems like it’s usually just Adidas.” … Whoops: Former Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey’s combine jersey featured a typo (from Mark Johnson). Here’s another view (from â˜ž k.â„¢”). … In this article, Ray Ratto argues the 49ers should follow the Rams lead and makeover their unis.
College Football News: It’s the “off-season” so there’s not a lot of College Football news these days, but in order to gin up some clicks, The Spun has posted a slideshow in which artists have redesigned uniforms for “college football’s elite” teams. Your definition of “elite” may differ from theirs, and most of them aren’t all that innovative, but if you have a free minute and don’t mind slideshows, it’s worth a look. … The UNC football field has a new ‘Jumpman’ logo on it (from Kareem). … That’s because UNC Football will be wearing Jordan Brand unis next season (from James Gilbert).
Hockey News: Two Jarome Iginla nuggets: He’ll wear number 88 with the Kings to ‘honor Wayne Gretzky (from Mike Engle); also, “…with the exception of 3rd/alternate jersey kits, every team Iginla has been a part of (Stars, Flames, B’s, Pens, Avalanche and Kings) wears black pants and black gloves” — full observation here (from Austin Chen). … Do you ever wonder where all those caps that get tossed onto the ice go, when a player scores a hat trick? “At least I know where the hat trick hats are going this time,” says Marc-Louis Paprzyca. … The Toledo Walleye will be doing the Pink in the Rink thing this weekend. … The Orlando Solar Bears will be wearing Noche Latina jerseys tonight, when they become Los Solar Bears (from Orlando Solar Bears). … Last evening, the Brandon Wheat Kings brought back one of their best ever looks (via Greg Davey). … Reader Brian Perille has ranked all 30 NHL teams jerseys. … A Colorado Avs fan page has ranked the best jerseys in franchise history (which includes their time as the Quebec Nordiques). … The KU Jayhawks have some pretty cool sweatshirts & jerseys (from Derek Noll). … Wow, Bowling Green has some pretty nice sweaters (from Patrick Thomas). … Peter Budaj, who was recently traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning “made no attempt to cover up his @LAKings logos or use pad skinz to change his gear color” (from The Goal Net). … Apparently it’s now frowned upon to wear the #66 in hockey, even if it’s a tribute to Mario Lemieux (from Kurt).
NBA News: “While dinking around Getty Images I stumbled across this image of the infamous Cavs’ owner Ted Stepien holding up the proposed logo of the Toronto Towers,” writes Noah Kimball Jones. Stepien’s plan was to relocate the Cavs to Toronto in 1983. But, after driving the team into the ground the league guided Stepien to sell the team to the Gunds, thus keeping the team in Ohio. Noah adds, “I knew of this story, I just never knew there was a proposed logo. The colors were to be red and white. From the B&W image I assuming black was going to be involved as well?” … “When Dominique Wilkins played overseas, was he really just warning us about future Celtics garb?” asks Douglas Ford. … In the 1990 playoffs, the Knicks and Celtics both wore black memorial bands (from Funhouse). According to Wikipedia (via James Gilbert), they were remembering Joan Cohen of the Celtics. … Whoa, check out not only the awesome old Atlanta Hawks uniforms, but also the incredible striped pants in this video (I would so wear those). From Hit The Glass. … Check out all the awesome vintage logos on this New York Knicks 77-78 program (h/t Sports Paper). … The Atlanta Hawks retired “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s jersey last night. It was in the Blue & Green colors which Maravich wore for some of his time in Atlanta. The team wore 1970s throwbacks against the Cavs, making for a nice color vs. color matchup.
College/High School Hoops News: “Saw this pop up on an auction site recently,” says Leo Strawn, Jr.. “A better shot of the photo used for that SI cover can be seen here. So much to love about Artis Gilmore’s Jacksonville Dolphins uniform: number on top with team name arched underneath, bright yellow belt and some interesting striping on those shorts.” … For one day, Duquesne’s red and blue will be replaced by BLACK & GOLD. Today’s game vs. Saint Joseph’s will be a tribute to Pittsburgh (from Jerry). … Jimmer Vilk may not like the floor at the Women’s ACC tourney, but I sure do (from Dan Kennedy). However, Jimmer Vilk does love the dual-colored court at Vegas’ Orleans Arena. … “I was watching a bit of the Big South conference tournament quarterfinals…and I noticed something interesting about Radford’s uniforms that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before,” says Matthew Wilson. “Their uniforms not only featured an outdated Big South conference logo on the front of their jerseys, but they also had an outdated school logo on their shorts! Doing a quick google search I found that Radford went through a complete rebranding for their entire athletic program in October 2016 and a huge upgrade in my opinion, while the Big South updated their logo in January 2017. Kind of strange the Big South would update the logo mid-season, so I’m sure every Big South school is using the outdated logo. However, with Radford changing their logo before the season started you would think they would have made the effort to display the new brand identity on their uniforms.” … UNC Basketball is wearing this shooting shirt in March (from James Gilbert). … Hmmm — wonder if this got rectified before the game: East Cleveland Shaw and Mentor Lake Catholic were both wearing white in D-II OHSAA sectional final (from Believeland 1994). … West Virginia and Iowa State played a rather attractive color vs. color game last night (from Coleman Mullins).
Soccer News: Anyone watching Sweden’s national women’s team play this week should take a close look at the back of the players’ shirts — the team has ditched its traditional logos in favor of messages of empowerment. … Now that you’ve (hopefully) read CJ & Kyle’s review of the new MLS kits, you can check out the Men In Blazers giving their own jersey breakdown (from JohnMark Fisher). … Here was the opening matchup for last night’s MLS kickoff (from Patrick Thomas). … And the announcer wore a jacket I’d proudly rock (from a.g.).
Grab Bag: Curling news from Tom Konecny: Here’s a story from yesterday’s Detroit Free Press on curling. And here’s another from his local newspaper on a new curling center that just opened in Tom’s town. … Impact Wrestling has a new logo. … “FASCINATING article (and, presumably, fascinating exhibit),” on Georgia O’Keefe writes Ilana Hardesty. “Not uniform, but definitely up your alley!” … In a fun gesture, cross country skiers for Duluth Denfeld High School pulled out uniforms for the closed Duluth Central High School. Half of Central’s students are now in Denfeld’s district (from Stephen King). … UNC wrasslin’ has got new singlets for the ACC Tournament (from James Gilbert).
And that’s it for today. Thanks to Kyle and CJ (once again) for the nice rundown of the MLS Eastern Conference unis. I’ll be back tomorrow, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I will say this: if the team is run on the field in the same manner it is making uniform decisions, the Rams are going to be a Charlie Foxtrot for a long time.”
— Dan Tarrant