By Phil Hecken, with Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck
Once again, I’m pleased to bring you the annual MLS Preview, today for the Western Conference (yesterday we covered the new jerseys for the Eastern Conference), and I’m again joined by 4-time p/reviewers Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m actually away this weekend curling (and basically off the grid), so I pre-loaded the post before I departed on Thursday. If there’s any breaking uni news, I’m apologizing in advance for not covering it. Also (and apologies in advance) there will be no ticker today. Sorry :(.
There’s a lot to get to — and if you remember how Kyle and CJ work: Kyle gives his thoughts (not on a 5 star scale this time around) while CJ gives them the classic “good” or “stupid” designations. So let me turn this over now to the lads as they bring you their…
2019 MLS Preview – Western Conference
By Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck
Thanks Phil! We’re excited to be back for another year of previewing all of the new MLS jerseys – it’s already our 4th year on Uni Watch!
Yes it’s still winter in most of the country, but MLS is back and kicks off this afternoon with a full slate of matches. In league news, the expansion trend continues with FC Cincinnati joining the Eastern Conference this season as the league’s 24th club. This marks the 3rd consecutive season with a new team and two more (Miami, Nashville) are set to join next season.
In jersey news, Adidas remains the league-wide kit supplier and you will notice the “three stripes” template on the shoulders or sides of each new jersey. This is also the annual reminder that MLS rotates their kits so that each year a team receives either a new primary or a new secondary kit, meaning that each design is (generally) on the field for two seasons.
The main trend this year is white. A lot of it. Exactly half (12 of 24) of the teams released a jersey that is predominantly white (I’m including light gray in this). It is rare for teams in MLS to have a third jersey option, so when combining with last year’s releases, this now means that 19 of the 24 teams have a white jersey as one of their two choices. (The only teams without a white option are Columbus, NYCFC, Houston, Seattle, and Sporting Kansas City.) Yes, the more teams that have white options means it is easier to avoid color-clashing, but it also results in many simple all-white uniforms with few (if any) design elements.
With the context out of the way, enjoy all of the new jerseys and share your thoughts on what you do or don’t like in the comments! (Click any photos below to enlarge.)
Colorado Rapids (secondary)
Colorado moves from a yellow and blue secondary jersey to all-white.
Kyle: Simple but their accent colors are nice. This would look nicer paired with the burgundy shorts as opposed to all-white.
CJ: So boring I might fall asleep. Good use of color, and I agree with Kyle on the shorts. Stupid.
FC Dallas (secondary)
FC Dallas also moves from a blue secondary jersey to all-white.
Kyle: Similar to Colorado, it’s simple with nice accent colors. The difference is that this would pair best with blue shorts and I’m not sure Dallas has that option.
CJ: You keep hitting those home runs, Adidas! Pumping out white kits like you got them on sale if you bought in bulk. Yikes. Stupid.
Houston Dynamo (primary)
Houston’s new primary jersey is in their traditional orange and features a sublimated zig-zag (lightning) pattern.
Kyle: As the only team with an orange jersey, they automatically stand out – in a good way for me. Again the sublimated pattern will be difficult to see on the field, but I like this one.
CJ: I find the advertising color distinction distracting, but otherwise a solid idea solidly executed. We’ll see how the sublimation looks on the field. Good.
Los Angeles FC (secondary)
LAFC’s second season brings a new secondary jersey which was previously all-white and is now mostly white with a thin gray horizontal striping pattern.
Kyle: So I suppose LAFC get props for trying to do something different than a simple all-white jersey (which they are replacing anyway), but oof I’m not a fan of this execution. Why not just gray hoops instead?
CJ: I find it funny that their advertiser is a streaming service and the jersey looks like a broken screen. I am not a fan of the badge colorization, either. Stupid.
LA Galaxy (secondary)
The Galaxy wear their secondary jersey less often than any other team in the league, and their latest features navy vertical stripes mixed with a “digital” design.
Kyle: The only thing I see when I look at this jersey is a QR code. The jersey would be fine with standard stripes, but maybe scanning the code unlocks features to help them make the playoffs.
CJ: World’s worst QR code is right. The digital age! Internet! Computers! Buzzwords! Please buy this garbage! Stupid.
Minnesota United (secondary)
All-white for the Loons.
Kyle: Simple doesn’t mean bad – it depends on the context! Again I tend to like their accent colors and am never a fan of all-white uniforms – colored shorts would be nice.
CJ: More white, though I guess it’s appropriate for the snow-covered northerners. Another bland (lack of) design. Stupid.
Portland Timbers (primary)
The Timbers’ new primary jersey is green with dark green hoops and gold accents.
Kyle: The Timbers always seem to have one of the best looks in the league and this year is no different. Quite a lovely design.
CJ: What a beauty. Blending the ad is always a good idea. Better hoop execution than the Union’s primary, that’s for sure. Good.
Real Salt Lake (secondary)
RSL moves from all-white to mostly white with some assorted jagged red “stripes.”
Kyle: When your printer runs out of ink.
CJ: Kyle is right. It’s not all white, which in the current climate makes it marginally better, but it can’t save it. Stupid.
San Jose Earthquakes (primary)
The only team in the league without a jersey advertiser, the Quakes’ new primary jersey is black with a block of blue on the top of the jersey.
Kyle: The design works and there seems to be a pattern now of emphasizing black over blue in their primary jerseys. And isn’t it crazy how much we’re trained to see ads that it almost looks incomplete without one?
CJ: Okay, this one definitely looks like a training top. I think Kyle is right about the ad, though. I’ll call it good for that alone.
Seattle Sounders (secondary)
The Sounders were the last team to reveal their new jersey, and unveiled a black secondary jersey with neon pink accents. Seattle also adds a new advertiser which has been updated on their rave green primary jerseys.
Kyle: I actually like the color combination and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it once Inter Miami enters the league next season. The jersey certainly stands out among the many white jerseys, but the contrasting ad color makes it look more like a billboard showcasing the new advertiser.
CJ: Pink and black? No no.
Sporting Kansas City (primary)
SKC’s new primary is light blue with a paler blue diagonal stripe design.
Kyle: Sure, why not? The diagonal stripes could be a solid color, but SKC is back to standing out with a unique design.
CJ: SKC always has something different, I’ll give them that. It looks like a crayon scribble, but it’s unique and fits the colors. Good.
Vancouver Whitecaps (primary)
The Whitecaps’ add a white primary jersey with a horizontal navy stripe, a navy collar, and navy shorts. This is the only new jersey that features a collar.
Kyle: I know CJ is especially fond of collars, and while they don’t move the needle in either direction for me, I’m especially fond of this uniform design. See why I keep making comments about contrasting shorts? They make a huge difference! The colors and elements work really well together and this has my vote for favorite new jersey in the West.
CJ: This looks gorgeous. Good, good, good, good.
Thanks, guys! Great overview of the Western Conference. OK readers — what do you think of the new jerseys?
Now we know where they got the idea!
As you’re no doubt aware, last weekend I covered the Penguins/Flyers Stadium Series game in Philly, which featured both teams in black (the Pens were almost head-to-toe black, while the Flyers wore black accents and breezers, with mostly orange colors), as seen in the photo above. Both teams also featured black helmets with giant logos on them (an NHL first, and possibly last). Several readers pointed out that the Penguins, who only had the logo on one side of the helmet, were doing so as a tribute to the Steelers, who are also the only NFL team to feature a logo on only one side of their helmets.
But the unis stood out for another reason: They bore a striking resemblance to the “uniforms” worn in an old (and cult classic) movie “Rollerball.”
Reader Shawn Protz wrote me on Monday with the following, “Just wanted to point out that the outdoor hockey unis from yesterday look like the unis from the Houston-Tokyo matchup in the 1970s movie Rollerball.”
Now, on the twitter, a couple people made subtle references to the similarities, but no one included stills from the movie, and I didn’t think too much of it at the time. But once I saw the stills Shawn sent, I immediately saw the similarities. Dig:
Whoa! I’m sure the similarities between the Penguins & Flyers to the fictional Tokyo and Houston teams depicted in the 1975 film are purely coincidental — but there’s no denying there are certainly some similarities, not the least of which is the color schemes of the two teams, but also the helmets with logos! I remember watching the movie on TV when I was young (maybe 10 or 11 years old) — at the time, I was kind of turned off by the violence, but I enjoyed it about as much as a pre-teen kid could. I may have seen it once since then, but not in at least 30 years. Maybe it’s time to see it again.
Anyway, big thanks to Shawn for the screen grabs and for pointing out the similarities! Perhaps in 30 years, well see a couple hockey teams we’ll see a Stadium Series game between the Penguins and Canucks and someone will point out that those unis look like something seen in a movie made decades before. Then again, maybe not.
Uni Concepts & Tweaks
It’s been a long while since I ran this particular feature as a sublede (though I have run several full article with multiple uniform concepts and/or tweaks).
It’s probably time for it to return, so long as you guys still have a few concepts to share. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
Got a set of one team earlier this week from reader Gary Hamilton who sent a KC Chiefs concept my way. Here’s Gary:
Mr. Hecken – Love your site and twitter feed. Long time fan. As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, I can speak for many who love that very little about our uniform has changed over the years. I love the logo, the color scheme and the overall clean and classic look. However, I think it could use at least a couple minor updates to bring into the modern era.
1. I have changed out the generic block numbers for the official Chiefs word mark font instead.
2. I have removed the “sleeve” stripes (all football teams should quit trying to put stripes where there is no longer a sleeve) and I put a two tone arrow in their place that fits the area much better.
3. The pants striping is in tandem with the two tone arrow on the sleeve.
That’s it. Helmet and logo remain the same. Using only team colors and the font change is to something the team already uses as well. I feel like this maintains the clean and classic look while giving it a bit of an updated look. What better time for it than the beginning of the Mahomes era?
Keep up the great work. Thanks.
Thanks Gary. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
And that’s all for today folks. Sorry about the lack of ticker, but I’m sure we’ll have an extra big ticker tomorrow to make up for it! Catch you next weekend.