MLS Western Conference: Primary Colors (Sash and Burn)

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by BILL REESE with JACK BELL

What, exactly, is a new soccer season without a frenzy of leaks, rumors and finally the official introductions of the new Adidas gear to be worn by players on the 22 teams of Major League Soccer.

You can call it fashion forward or simply another gambit to separate you from your hard-earned cash ($120 for the “authentic” numbers; a mere $85 for the replica online and at enlightened local retailers) for yet another polyester soccer trinket. But this is serious business, especially when it comes to you actually paying to give some big corporation free advertising as you prance around wearing the shirt of your favorite MLS team, brought to you by Etihad Airways, Herbalife, Target and their fellow purveyors of consumer nirvana through soccer.

After taking a look at the Eastern Conference uniforms, we now cast our fashionista eyes on the 11 teams in the Western Conference. At least one of the writers has no love of the diagonal sash (Los Angeles home, Minnesota home and away). It’s personal.

With the start of the 2017 MLS regular season mere days away, Empire of Soccer takes a fresh look at the team shirts we will be seeing on the soccer fields of North American between now and the end of the year. We encourage readers to not take our word for the good, the bad, but mostly the ugly, but to voice your opinions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

(Second of two parts)

Colorado Rapids

COL PrimaryCOL SecondaryThe Rapids have a fondness for a yellow away jersey, right, when they could use the secondary color in their logo, a lovely powder blue, instead. Adidas designers have long looked to city and state flags as a way to connect clubs and their regions, but it seems a bit unnecessary, and ultimately unsuccessful. The home shirt, left, picks up the basic maroon used by the NHL Colorado Avalanche.

 

FC Dallas

Dallas_Primary_2016FCD SecondaryFC Dallas used to wear two great sets of hoops (white on red and blue on white). The club inexplicably abandoned both over the last few seasons, and are the worse for it. Bonus points for Longhorn steer in the logo (one of the league’s best along with Minnesota’s loon) and the stars on the chest “deep in the heart of Texas,” but the overall product still falls flat.

 

 

 

Houston Dynamo

HOU PrimaryHouston_Secondary_2016There has been a leaked uniform design showing a wavy pattern underneath the Dynamo’s shirt sponsor and badge, that is preferable to what Houston has gone with. Perhaps that wavy design was a first draft deemed too edgy for mass production and Houston settled for fairly conservative designs.

 

 

 

Los Angeles Galaxy

LA PrimaryLA SecondaryThe Galaxy are one of the few MLS teams — along with the Red Bulls and Vancouver — that wear white at home. L.A. has more or less reprised its most recent away jersey, right, sticking with a blue-on-blue design. It seems underwhelming, especially for one of the league’s marquee teams. Did we mention the sash? Meh.

 

 

 

Minnesota United

MIN Primary

MIN SecondaryThe Loons had arguably the most beautiful uniforms in their final years in the NASL. The club’s first uniforms in MLS are a letdown. With the Target logo (minus the red) of the Minneapolis-based retailer on the chest (giving new meaning to the term target man), there’s no place for the oversized loon that made Minnesota’s NASL uniforms so striking and attractive. United got a late start putting together its squad, and the jerseys both have a slap-dash feel. Did we mention the sash? Meh times two. 

Portland Timbers

POR Primary

POR SecondaryThese jerseys are works of art. They are simple yet elegant. The real kicker is the textured tree rings on the badge. The Timbers have had some weird jersey designs since they moved to MLS, but they have finally put it all together. Portland has some of the league’s best fans, now the players are among the best dressed — home and away.

 

 

 

Real Salt Lake

rsl home

rsl sec
As beautiful and simple as Portland’s uniforms, but minimalism can backfire. To some, the secondary outfit, right, is boring white, to others it’s classic white. No accounting for taste. The vibrant red primary uniform is well … vibrant.

 

 

 

San Jose Earthquakes

SJ PrimSJ SecondAdidas designs its MLS jerseys (and its national team and club shirts globally) two years in advance. It makes you wonder if San Jose’s primary uniform design, left, came about during the “What Color is This Dress” frenzy of 2015. Boring. That said, the secondary uniform, right, is fresh and distinctive.  

 

 

 

Seattle Sounders

SEA _primary7418A_SSF_BASSF_S8Z_LFSTYLButton collars on soccer jerseys have always held an eccentric appeal — there’s something about the juxtaposition of an element of proper attire on a piece of recreational clothing. Seattle’s new white jersey, right, is lovely and harks back to its V-neck uniforms from the early 1980s. The only thing missing from those old NASL days are the players’ mustaches and big hair. For the primary, right,  you have to wonder when rave green will no longer be all the rave.

 

Sporting Kansas City

skc1

skc2Sporting’s rebrand in 2011 has been a resounding success, yet the club has never settled on a sustained jersey identity. K.C. has worn hoops, mismatched sleeves, silver on white (with nearly unintelligible lettering), and now this. If you took off the shirt sponsor’s name you have a near match of NYCFC’s home jersey, left. Sporting should pick a style and stick to it. The secondary outfit, right, is sharp navy blue accented with horizontal stripes. It’s a winner.

 

Vancouver Whitecaps

van1van2It appears the designers were encouraged to add shapes and patterns to the 2017 MLS jerseys. The execution on Vancouver’s primary jersey with the triangular raindrops is nothing short of genius. The Whitecaps may play under the roof at BC Place, where raindrops won’t be falling on their heads, but they’ve got the look.

 

 

Our Favorites:

Bill ReeseBest Primary: Portland, Vancouver, Houston, Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota. Best Secondary: Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Colorado, Real Salt Lake, Minnesota.

Jack Bell — Best Primary: Vancouver … there’s one thing for certain as it applies to L.A. and Minnesota … ban the sash. Best Secondary: Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, San Jose.

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