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Rating the Leaked 2020 MLS Kits: Part One

The first half of a non-definitive, completely arbitrary rating of the leaked MLS kits.

MLS: BodyArmor-Press Conference Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While the official jersey unveiling for the 2020 season of Major League Soccer will take place next week on Feb. 5, a pretty comprehensive leak of a bunch of jerseys surfaced online yesterday and would seem to be the real deal. That means I’ll be combing through the images that popped up yesterday and rating them.

My rating system is comprised of whether or not I like the jerseys, and will take into account things like attention to detail, overall appearance, and whether I think any opportunities were missed to make the shirt look better/cooler. I’ll only be looking over jerseys included in the previous link, and you should all note that my ratings are completely arbitrary and probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Additionally, this will be broken down into two parts, with the second piece being published tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that!

The kits will be ranked into tiers, which shall be as follows.

HOTDAMN!: The highest tier. I have deemed jerseys in this tier spectacular for one reason or another, but most likely for multiple reasons. They are the cream of the leaked jersey crop, the best of the bunch, and knock my socks clean off my feet when I gaze upon them.

Ooooh I Like That!: Much as the title suggests, this tier is for jerseys that I really like, but didn’t quite win me over in the way the jerseys in the “HOTDAMN!” category did. While being almost excellent, these were just missing that little thing to take them to the next level.

Good But Not Great: Better than average but nothing more. If this were a grade it would be an 83/100. Passing, but you clearly didn’t put any extra effort into this particular exam. You did enough to keep your parents off your back, but any lower and your seat starts to get hot.

Meh, It’s Fine: A fairly self explanatory category, these jerseys are just fine. Not particularly good, not particularly bad. They simply exist.

What Am I Looking At?: As the questioning nature of the title suggests, these are jerseys that I’m bemused by. They may be outright bad, or simply rather confusing. Who’s to say?

Now on to the good stuff.

HOTDAMN!

Portland Timbers (Away)

I’m a big believer in starting off strong, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. This is potentially the best of the whole bunch and is really only rivaled by the next entry on this list. It’s clean, catches the eye, the monochrome logo looks sweet, and the gold used for the Adidas stripes on the shoulder gives it the splash of color it needs to avoid washing it out. Plus, the green on the sleeves looks awesome and mirrors the green hoops. Stellar, stellar stuff here.

Minnesota United FC (Home)

Gorgeous. The contrasting shades of gray work really well, the Target logo pops off the chest in a particularly striking way, and again, the light blue on the stripes give it the color it needs to pull everything together. Additionally, the Loon wings in the background are just so cool looking, while also having a purpose. Gray and sky blue runs the risk of turning out a very boring looking kit, but that isn’t a problem here.

D.C. United (Home)

What really caught me about this one was the red on the sleeves. All the kits in this particular template have the thick portion at the bottom of the sleeve, but few teams used them to the effect that D.C. did here. With a black sleeve I would probably hate this jersey, but the red really makes it pop, and everything else on the jersey is clean as hell. Overall, it’s striking and easily identifiable as to what club it belongs to, and that’s what a good jersey should be.

FC Dallas (Home)

I wouldn’t be surprised if these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, they’re excellent. I quite like the variation on the hoops they used to be so well known for, and it’s a fun callback to the team’s history while also being rather visually striking. Again, I think making the Adidas stripes white is a good way of making everything pop, and the whole jersey is a more interesting design than lots of the other things we got, which is always nice when it works.

Sporting Kansas City (Away)

Speaking of unorthodox and unique designs that stick the landing, I bring you Sporting Kansas City’s kit. If Dallas’ place in this category isn’t controversial then Sporting being here probably will be, but this jersey is just so damn...different. I don’t know who came up with the idea of the dotted background but it works, and it works well. Maybe it’s because of the almost navy blue necktie vibes I get from it, but this jersey is striking, elegant, and memorable as hell, all at the same time.

Ooooh I Like That!

Vancouver Whitecaps (Away)

I like the first entry in this category a lot, and I debated on whether to include it in my “HOTDAMN!” tier, but ultimately it just missed the cut. It’s clean as hell. I like the light blue on the sleeves and the stripes, the Vancouver flag patch, and the subtle waves in the background are inspired, but I don’t know. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s missing that last thing that pushes it to the top. Still, it’s a really great looking jersey with an attention to detail that Whitecaps fans should love.

Orlando City (Away)

Initially, I wasn’t really on board with the Lions’ away shirt, but it grew on me. The Florida patch at the bottom is an excellent detail, and the suns radiating out from the club patch is an even better one. However, it took me a second to actually figure out what the suns in the background were, and I wish they were a bit easier to pick up on. The other thing that would have made it better is some gold somewhere. Maybe make the Adidas stripes gold and the bottom of the sleeves purple? I don’t know if that would have looked good, and while this is another jersey with some really inspired details, I think it just needs a little more fine tuning to make it superb.

Toronto FC (Away)

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for shirts that utilize that bottom of the sleeve to good effect, and Toronto’s away shirt certainly does that. Along with the red stripes contrasting against the white, they make everything pop and stand out. I like the idea of the gray sashes but would have preferred to see one large one instead of multiple small ones, especially the series of them that goes against the grain from the rest. But the shirt still stands out and looks pretty clean, so I can’t complain too much.

Colorado Rapids (Home)

For me, the Rapids did something along the lines of what Toronto should have done. Burgundy and sky blue isn’t the easiest color combination to pull off, but I think this kit does a damn good job. The uniform sashes do a good job of adding something extra to what might otherwise be a boring design. The Colorado state flag is a nice touch, and the sky blue Adidas stripes give it the extra color that it needs.

Philadelphia Union (Home)

Much like the Orlando City kit, the Union home jersey took some time to grow on me, but I ended up quite liking it. The contrasting shades of blue work nicely, and the gold Adidas stripes give it some color. The little patch at the bottom says Ad Finem Fidelis, which is Latin for “faithful to the end” and just so happens to be the motto of the Sons of Ben, the Union supporters group. I’m honestly not sure what else I want out of this but I can’t shake the feeling that it just needs something.


Now that we’ve gotten through the top two categories that’s where I’ll be ending things today. If I gave you all five in one piece it would be an abhorrently long article, so I’ll make it a bit easier for all of us to digest instead. Plus, I can build some suspense while we all wait for tomorrow. What do you think about my decisions so far? Be sure to have your say down in the comments and check back in for Part 2 tomorrow!