MLS 2012 Kit Review

With many of the MLS squads sporting new strips this year, let’s rank how each team looks
by Chris Enger   |   Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Every year it seems like half of the teams in Major League Soccer replace their kits, which makes fans of our league lucky, because most everywhere else teams barely change their kits.

Some teams make small changes, others make wholesale changes and others keep things pretty standard with no changes at all.  Yet, each year, flocks of supporters buy new kits, whether they are the good, the bad or the ugly.

So without further ado, may we present to you, the inaugural Soccer Newsday Kit Review, a ranking of the home and away kits of all 19 teams based upon the votes of Soccer Newsday writers.

MLS 2012 Kit Review - Home Kits
Home Kits:

1.   DC: The 2010-11 DC United kit, as with all of the past DCU kits, was black, but last years were seemingly blacker than usual. This year with the addition of more red on the sleeve and collar, plus the standard DC look, this kit looks sharp as ever because of its simplicity and tradition.

2.   Portland: Portland struck gold in their expansion year with many things including their first kit. The new kit is just as good with its two shades of green on the body with white sleeves makes the team distinct in a league full of reds and blues.

3.   Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake finally returns to what made their kit stand out for their first 5 years in the league… well they returned half way any way. Unfortunately, the kit is asymmetrical and lacks uniformity. Adidas added more cobalt, which was lacking desperately, despite it looking somewhat like the Nike one armed gridiron football uniforms.

4.   Chicago: The distinctive red with white band across the chest of the Chicago kit has always positively stuck out. Now, with the red and blue color combo, they look very similar to RSL and Chivas USA. The plus to their kit is the new sponsor, the Quaker man was meant to be on a jersey.

5.   Columbus: Columbus’s primary color of yellow will always give them the most unique uniform in the league. This year they have added a collar to give it a classy look, some black arm pits and a sponsor. This kit is a great upgrade from their kits a year ago.

6.   Montreal: The Impact come into the league with an all blue monochromatic kit combination. The one distinctive feature is the subtle cross on the chest created with miniature fleur-de-lys.

7.   San Jose: It depends on what San Jose wears as home colors, but it may have been wiser if they would go back to the classic look they had when Donovan and DeRosario played for the team. The all black is too similar to DC United. The original Quakes a color and style that was all theirs and it’s time to return to it.

8.   Houston: The Dynamo knew what they were doing when they created their team colors. They are the only team in the league wearing orange which allows them to wear their home kits most anywhere. The simple design to last year’s jersey is going to be a classy design to match their new stadium, complete with orange seating.

9.   Seattle: For their first years in the league, the Sounders had the best kit combination right down to the Xbox sponsor. Now Adidas has added silver piping where it wasn’t needed and made the kit look clustered and busy. However, since they are the only team sporting the light green, it still allows their kits to stand apart.

10.   Chivas USA: Chivas has returned to a standard vertical piping without having anything to destroy the look. The blue collar really compliments the whole look and they have one of the better looking kit sponsors in Corona.

11.   Kansas City: At least they aren’t all white. Other than that what a boring kit. With an exciting team, in a stellar stadium, there is so much more they could do and should have done with the color combination and shield to get a kit as exciting as their team.

12.   Toronto: The best part of Toronto FC’s kit is their gray arms are stellar. The team has a solid color for the majority of the kit, and then it contrasts with the arms. The imprint of the maple leaf is a subtle addition that exudes class. This is a great look for Toronto.  

13.   Los Angeles: Perhaps it is the sash that helped this kit stand above most all white kits (other than our staff vote). The jersey looks like it is paying homage to the jersey that last was worn when LA won their previous MLS Cup.

14.   Vancouver: It is tough to be excited by any primary all white kit. This one is no exception. At least they have some blue horizontal piping, but if you have three colors to choose from, why use the white?

15.   Philadelphia: The Union kits from last year, especially when they used the gold shorts, were some of the best. For whatever reason they decided to make the sky blue stripes much more noticeable this year. The result is they look as busy as the advert-covered kits from the Mexican League.

16.   New York: Again, another primarily white kit. At least they wear red shorts to stick out. On the bright side, at least they got rid of that really weird button up collar.

17.   Colorado: It may be the rival in me but when I see Colorado’s kit I just think, “Meh.” They looked so much better when they donned the light blue shorts with the maroon top and for whatever reason they moved away from that. And how does a team, who recently won MLS Cup, and has its own stadium not have a jersey-sponsor?

18.   Dallas: What is the point of referring to yourselves as the hoops if you don’t really have hoops as more as you have stripes? The 2012 kit has red piping splitting the hoops into simple stripes on the front and back. But, honestly, is the double-piping necessary?

19.   New England: Amongst bad attendance, bad ownership, a bad product last year, and a bad stadium situation, the Revs fans now also have to deal with a bad kit. It is cluttered, it is busy, and it is something from the original MLS days. The one fantastic addition to the kit is the flag of New England, which for some reason is hidden on the back of the neck.

MLS 2012 Kit Review - Away Kits
Away and Secondary Kits:
It is easy to see that of the 19 secondary kits eight of the bottom nine are white with the lone exemption is a silly looking uniform. Let’s start with the best.

1.   Portland: These. Are. Beautiful! This is the perfect homage to Rose City, while simultaneously being the best secondary kit in MLS. Portland rarely uses them, so when they do it is special. This gives the design of the kit is even more meaningful.

2.   Chicago: Chicago has gone away from the typical all-white secondary kits to these. This is kit, featuring original and outstanding stripe piping that contains three stars throughout, is the best Chicago has looked since their sky blue third kits that paid homage to the city firefighters.

3.   Los Angeles: The Galaxy created a secondary kit that blends two great shades of blue with a perfect hint of gold. It’s a great jersey that isn’t used enough.

4.   Vancouver: What Vancouver lacks in their home kit, they make up for in their away kit. Their dark blue looks fantastic, and the subtle look of the logo printed on the shirt gives it character.

5.   Seattle: The grey and green shouldn’t go together, but somehow it does. Yes, it isn’t as good as the original secondary kit from two years ago, but these have a very sharp look. Still, the question must be asked: what is going on with the silver piping around the arms?

6.   Kansas City: SKC’s secondary kit does have a little more appeal than their home kit. But the team really needs to have a sponsor, because there just appears to be a giant hole where a logo should be.

7.   San Jose: This should be their primary choice. It’s such a different color scheme than we are used to in MLS.

8.   Chivas USA: With the subtle continuation of their vertical stripes and the red accents, this is probably the best secondary kit Chivas has had since they were introduced into the league in 2005.

9.   New York: New York’s secondary kit is pleasant but they look dynamic when wearing their gold shorts. These kits attempt – and nearly succeed – in righting everything that is wrong with the home kits.

10.   Dallas: If this is what the FC Dallas secondary kit looks like (this looks like an unofficial photo), it represents what Dallas has been doing now for the last couple of kits: the exact replica of the primary with secondary colors. The gray accents are a positive step, but it has that same “captain’s armband” look that MLS franchises seem to love.

11.   Columbus: Now comes the string of all whites (except for the lone exception later on our list). At first the new Crew kit looked like an incomplete idea, but the design looks better with the addition of the Barbasol sponsor.

12.   Montreal: Montreal’s secondary kit is just as uninspiring as their home kit. It’s simply their home kit in reverse with white being the primary color.

13.   DC: Although it is primarily white, DC United puts the red to good use as an accent to the kit. The red collar makes the kit stand out and the red cuffs on the sleeves also make it more dynamic.

14.   Philadelphia: Why Philly? Why? The all gold kit was original and amazing. Then you went to all whites which were better than what you are wearing this year. The whole design is too busy and makes the whole kit look like the Bimbo logo in front.

15.   Toronto: The fans in Toronto shouldn’t be too upset with this away kit. The white is completely incased by red both through the sides and down the arms. Plus the collar makes it look classy as well.

16.   New England: The 2012 New England away kit looks something like a pajama top. There isn’t much to it. The Revs fan should be upset, because it feels like the New England kits are this year’s worst designed duo.

17.   Colorado: The problem with half the teams having white kits is that they all eventually blend together and look too similar. It wouldn’t be too difficult to create something unique would it? Here’s Colorado’s away kit and it, like most white kits, is lackluster.

18.   Houston: Luckily for MLS fans, the Dynamo can always wear their primary orange kits, because these should never be on an MLS pitch.

19.   Salt Lake: RSL has so much potential with their colors being red, yellow and blue, but – like apparently every other team – they chose white for their secondary kit. Just like their primary kit, the secondary is asymmetrical with one sleeve being blue while the rest of the kit is white.

Overall, MLS kits are still not the best in the world, but they are improving.  Still, despite the improvement, we are still seeing some of the same old problems.  For starters there are too many teams are using red and blue. However, without the overabundance of those two colors we wouldn’t have so many excellent secondary kits – which in many cases should just be the primary kit.  Conversely, the overuse of red and white is also the reason why we see so many white kits. 

This is why Portland has the best combination; they have unique and strong colors. Add to those two their throwback third kit and what they are doing in Portland should be repeated throughout the league.


Univ. of Utah
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KoS & SN Podcast co-host & self-proclaimed funniest man in Utah. Mormon by faith, Ute by geography, Gooner by accident & proud RSLer. Father of 4, husband of 1, brother of many. Bilingual by day, quasi superhero en la noche. There's only one "Fuegote".