It's always an adventure when MLS clubs come up with new kit designs.
Without the history of their European counterparts, teams can get creative when deciding what to wear during any given season. And with many MLS clubs still looking to grow their brands, jersey designers have the freedom to get creative when putting these uniforms together.
We've seen plenty of subtle changes this year (Philadelphia), hat tips to club history (Chicago), and we've seen Columbus. But how do Orlando's new road whites stack up against the competition? Read on, as we rank every new MLS jersey ahead of the 2016 season.
14. Columbus Crew "For Columbus" Kits
#ForColumbus pic.twitter.com/5bWGEQBJ5N— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) February 10, 2016
Hide the children.
I'm not even sure where to start with these uniforms, which have already been called ugly, garish and minion-like. They're ostensibly designed after the city flag, which is a neat idea, but has already been done by both New York City FC and the Chicago Fire.
The sad thing is, they would almost be tolerable if not for the inconceivable decision to pair them with light blue shorts. Rule of thumb: Any time your jersey adds two new colors that no one has ever associated with the club, be prepared for some backlash.
13. Real Salt Lake Home Kits
We're back #RSL pic.twitter.com/LnuJ42Rwsm— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) January 23, 2016
They sure are ... red.
Real Salt Lake's new home kits are fine, but there's really not a whole lot to get excited about here. They're an improvement over what the club wore last season, but I think they're almost too minimalist. And it doesn't help that red is already one of the league's more overused colors.
Luckily, Joao Plata gets what I'm talking about. He's the perfect amount of excited here.
When you get new kits pic.twitter.com/H8JW66ZvzF— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) January 23, 2016
12. San Jose Earthquakes Road Kits
It's lit! #Quakes74 pic.twitter.com/tYHWVBZVmL— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) January 28, 2016Pretty much in the same boat as RSL.
Pretty much in the same boat as RSL.
They added sleeves and a sash to their 2015 road jersey. They're certainly an improvement, but also pretty forgettable.
Love that San Jose has completely different home and road kits though, so there really wasn't much I would've changed either.
Introducing our 2016 @adidas secondary jersey #NYCFCKit #WeAreOne— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 10, 2016
Head to https://t.co/dCPPYAI3bn pic.twitter.com/lKPb7RLBDZ
10. D.C. United Home Kits
District of Columbia. It's home. #DCU 2016 Primary Kit Release: https://t.co/pXIMkOYWQtpic.twitter.com/BUJfIviPCm— D.C. United (@dcunited) February 8, 2016
This is a nice example of a club upgrading its weaker jersey set (personally, I think their road kits are already great), though it's mainly with a lot of cool, subtle changes.
The National Mall across the neck looks great, while the improved badge honors the '90s look of the club's logo (it's easy to forget that D.C. is ancient by MLS standards) while bringing the whole thing up to date.
Simple, but creative improvements. No complaints here.
The boys in the new away kit! #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/r0ZFehsxxL— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 9, 2016
8. New England Revolution Home Kits
Introducing the 2016 #NERevs Primary Kit! pic.twitter.com/zKtaMdbJIi— NewEnglandRevolution (@NERevolution) February 12, 2016
So New England's home kits just dropped last night, but I think it's pretty safe to call them a definite improvement over what the Revs wore at Gillette Stadium a year ago.
And there's only one major change.
The red-and-white bar down the center gives these a distinctive look, but avoids going too far and changing what was already a pretty sharp look. Plus, the new jerseys were supposedly inspired by the uniforms of colonial soldiers during the Revolutionary War. That's jersey symbolism I think anyone can get behind.
7. Chicago Fire Home Kits
.@BadgerMSoccer @Drew_Conner1 He's somewhere in that cloud of smoke... pic.twitter.com/jmbGNJGfaK— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) January 25, 2016
This is history done right.
As anyone who followed MLS towards the beginning of the century will tell you, the Fire just haven't looked quite right lately without their white center stripe. The team's home jersey featured a white stripe until 2010, as the Fire have more recently looked to the Chicago city flag for inspiration in designing their kits.
Hopefully, the return of the white stripe means Chicago is more serious about competing for the playoffs again. After all, they enjoyed their most successful years as a club in this classic look.
6. Portland Timbers Road Kits
Just in: pre-sale for these new Rose City Red kits begins Friday at 12 noon PT at https://t.co/WF6KqfVom0. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/kokYfCFGw0— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) January 28, 2016
5. Los Angeles Galaxy Home Kits
☝ ☝️ pic.twitter.com/rrScMV8eiC— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) February 11, 2016
It's hard to screw up what's quickly becoming an iconic MLS look, and these new LA home kits certainly don't do that. The new take on the Galaxy sash is interesting, though I didn't see anything particularly wrong with how it looked a year ago.
These jerseys continue the less-is-more approach that many clubs seem to be taking in 2016, stripping down their old kits into something a little more minimalist. That might be the most pretentious sentence I've ever written on this site.
4. Sporting Kansas City Road Kits
Introducing #SportingKC's new secondary kit. #AllForTheCity pic.twitter.com/waJk78HVQW— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) February 8, 2016
These are gorgeous. But Dom looked better in purple.
3. Montreal Impact Home Kits
Le voici! Le maillot primaire #IMFC @BMO 2016!— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) February 12, 2016
Here it is! 2016 IMFC Primary jersey! pic.twitter.com/yzqXv6ACnZ
Nobody in MLS needed a jersey upgrade more than the Montreal Impact. And they sure did get it.
These home kits are basically the club's alternate jersey from a year ago, tricked out with some symbolism (including metallic flowers on the jock tag) and improved enough to justify being the primary jersey.
These new kits give the Impact an identity, something they've sorely been missing the last couple seasons.
2. Philadelphia Union Home Kits
The squad loves Quigley. Thanks @ElmwoodParkZoo! pic.twitter.com/uZZ6vn4dQ3— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) February 4, 2016
I know what you're thinking. It's the same jersey.
And you're basically right. The Union already has one of the league's best home kits, with the navy and gold giving the club a dignified and historic look (the road kits though, are kind of a disaster)
So Philly found the ultimate way to give their jerseys some spice in 2016:
February 4, 2016
I actually think the snakeskin is a cool idea, albeit one that will NEVER show up for anyone watching a Union game. But for fans who want to rock these around Philadelphia, it's definitely a nice addition.
And if Quigley the snake approves, then there's really not much debate. These jerseys are sick.
1. Vancouver Whitecaps Road Kits
The official 2016 Sea-to-Sky jersey has arrived #VWFC #OurAllOurHonour
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) February 1, 2016
The official 2016 Sea-to-Sky jersey has arrived #VWFC #OurAllOurHonour
I love everything about these jerseys.
The shading just works beautifully with the Caps' already to-notch color scheme. (Sea-to-Sky? Sure, that's clever. Now shut up and let me compliment you.) Those stripes along the shoulders are also gorgeous.
Honestly, I've always had a soft spot for Vancouver's kits. And anything to make sure the jerseys from this game are never worn again is fine with me.
I think these are basically the quintessential MLS jerseys. They're not something any EPL team could ever pull off, but they're also not trying too hard like those atrocious "For Columbus" kits.
Vancouver's cracked the code, and other MLS clubs should take note.