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MLS kit choices 2007

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I mentioned this in another thread a few weeks ago, but I've compiled a spreadsheet of all the kits that MLS teams have worn this season, through the games of July 22. The reason I started trying to track it is that it annoys me to no end that many MLS teams insist on wearing their "road kit" on the road, even if there's no reason to switch from their normal colors. Plus, and maybe it's just me, but the tendency towards all-white road kits bothers me, best illustrated by matchups such as Dallas v Chicago.

For example, while it becomes necessary for DC to wear their white when visiting New England, who wears all navy, they shouldn't need to go away from their all-black when visiting Kansas City, whose primary kit is blue shirt, white shorts, blue socks.

I took some time tonight to analyze the data I was gathering, and below are my findings. If you'd like to look through the spreadsheet, feel free to download it (64K).

(Listings in the format of shirt/shorts/socks. For striped or hooped shirts, I used a hyphen, with the more dominant color first; e.g., red-white for Dallas's hoops.)

Chicago Fire

Primary kit: red/red/red

Home

9 red/red/red

Away

4 white/white/white (Colorado, Houston VT, New England, Toronto)

2 red/red/red (DC, Los Angeles)

1 red/white/red (New York)

In the past, Chicago is usually one of the teams I sneer at about not wearing their colors on the road. But, this season, I'll cut them some slack so far. For the team's first four road games, they wore all-white. The first two games made sense, as they were at Colorado (maroon/white/maroon) and Houston (special VT - maroon/white/white), but I think they would have looked better wearing white/red/white, something they've yet to wear this year. Against the all-navy Revs, though, there's no reason Chicago shouldn't be wearing at least their red shirts, if not their full red primary kits. Toronto is primary red and white, so it seemed appropriate. Again, they could have gone white/red/white, but that might have been a little confusing.

...But then they wore red/white/red against New York's white/red/white in the Fire's next road game, creating exactly that effect. Next against DC, it was all-black against all-red, thumbs up from me. And against the white-clad Galaxy, they had to wear their all-red.

In summary, with two red and white primary teams having been added recently, it seems like having a non-white option for at least part of the road kit would be a good idea. Honestly, I think we should see a return of the light blue "city flag" kits.

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Chivas USA

Primary kit: red-white/blue/blue

Home

7 red-white/blue/blue

Away

3 red-white/blue/blue (Houston, Los Angeles, Houston)

4 white-red/white/white (DC, Columbus, Chicago, New England)

1 blue/white/white (Dallas)

Ok, let me get this straight. MLS still allows the Goats to have an away shirt that is basically their home shirt with white shoulders instead of red. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?! I just don't get it.

Anyway, the Goats obviously prefer to wear their primary colors, but they make some odd choices for when to wear the others. New England? Just put on the white shorts and socks, but leave the shirt. DC? Columbus? Neither of these teams come close to what Chivas wears. No change necessary in the least. The only one that makes sense is Chicago--except that the shirt still has red stripes on it. But, whoa, they found another shirt for the Dallas game! You're telling me they couldn't wear the blue shirts against the Fire as well?

The Goats need to ditch that ridiculous white-red version of their red-whites. MLS should not allow that, period.

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Colorado Rapids

Primary kit: maroon/white/maroon

Home

9 maroon/white/maroon

Away

7 powder/powder/powder (Dallas, Salt Lake, Toronto, Houston, Chivas, DC, Chicago)

1 maroon/white/maroon (New York)

1 maroon/powder/maroon (Kansas City)

Colorado's look is new for this season. The maroon (or burgundy or whatever you want to call it) is pretty dark, but it is still technically a shade of red, I suppose, so the Rapids nearly always go for the all-powder blue look on the road. I suppose that's appropriate, though I love seeing rivalries where the two teams always wear their primary kits, regardless of location (Arsenal/Spurs, for example), and I think they could go maroon/white/powder when playing at Salt Lake.

I have to applaud the Rapids for using a non-white road kit, though sometimes it's tough to tell that it's not.

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Columbus Crew

Primary kit: uh.... (see below)

Home

6 yellow/black/yellow (New York, Chivas, Toronto, Houston, Kansas City, Toronto)

1 yellow/yellow/yellow (New York)

1 yellow/black/black (DC VT)

1 black/black/black (Salt Lake)

1 black/black/yellow (New England)

Away

3 yellow/yellow/yellow (Chicago, New England, Chivas)

2 yellow/black/yellow (Salt Lake, Colorado)

2 black/black/black (New York, Los Angeles)

1 yellow/black/black (Kansas City)

Now, when I went to write what the Columbus primary kit is, I realized that I really didn't know. This is a team that uses their black and yellow pretty evenly, not really emphasizing one over the other. If you look at online stores, the black shirt is always listed as the home shirt. But, looking at the numbers, they've worn that shirt four times out of eighteen games--and only twice out of ten home games. So, white the black may be officially the home shirt, in practice, yellow/black/yellow seems to be the preferred combination.

That being said, Columbus really has little need now for their black shirt. With the Galaxy having gone to white at home instead of yellow, Houston's the only team that the crew would really have to worry about. Sure, I guess they could go black when visiting the white-clad teams, which they've done so far this season, but they don't really need to.

Then again, as is shown by the numbers, the kit of the day is basically "what do we feel like wearing today?"

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DC United

Primary kit: black/black/black

Home

8 black/black/black

Away

4 black/black/black (Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, New York)

2 white/white/white (Colorado, Salt Lake)

1 white/black/white (Kansas City)

1 maroon/white/white [VT special] (Columbus)

DC's usually another big offender for wearing all-white when it's not necessary. This year, I think they've done a better job of avoiding it. I'd still like to see them wear white/black/white when they go white rather than all-white, and against Colorado and Salt Lake that would have been perfect. They did go with it in KC, since the Wizards wear white shorts with their blues, but I think DC could have gotten away with their all-blacks here. They have, at least worn their primary kits a majority of the time on the road, even when not playing teams that wear white at home.

The thing about DC is that unless you want to go all Euro and have a road kit that has nothing to do with your regular colors, United really only has two choices--black or white. There's too much red, really, to bring that into play much for them.

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FC Dallas

Primary kit: red-white/red/red

Home

7 red-white/red/red

Away

6 grey-white/grey/grey (Chicago, Chivas, Houston, Salt Lake, Toronto, Colorado)

5 red-white/red/red (Salt Lake, Los Angeles, New York, Kansas City LH, DC)

FCD is the team that threw MLS for a loop with their red/white hoops, and in a good way. Because of those shirts, a few MLS teams have shifted away from the all-white road paradigm, and for that I'm grateful. The grey kit is nice, and they use it well, though they shouldn't need to wear it against Colorado and SHOULD NOT wear it against Houston (see above comment about Colorado/Salt Lake and rivals wearing primaries). They apparently learned from their first trip to Salt Lake, where they wore the hoops against RSL's red shirts, and used the grey on their second visit.

The more interesting breakdown about Dallas is the kit choice of teams visiting them. This season:

Colorado - powder/powder/powder (technically necessary, but I don't see it)

New York - navy/navy/navy (a necessary change)

New England - white/white/white (no, no, no!)

Salt Lake - white/white/white (could have gone white/purple/purple, but they don't seem to do that)

Los Angeles white/white/white (special case)

Houston - white/orange/white (intrastate rivalry and they can't wear the primaries?)

Chivas - blue/white/white

This means that no road team has worn their primary against Dallas, save the Galaxy, who were in a weird situation with the kit change and all. Salt Lake didn't have much choice than to change shirts, but why can't the Revs seem to wear their navy on the road unless forced?!?

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Houston Dynamo

Primary kit: orange/white/orange

Home

8 orange/white/orange

1 orange/orange/orange (New England)

1 maroon/white/white [VT special]

Away

6 white/orange/white (Colorado, Toronto, Columbus, Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago)

2 orange/white/orange (New York, New England)

1 white/white/white (DC)

The creamsicle look is pretty unique in MLS, but Houston seems to be treating their orange tops like they're actually red, choosing to change when visiting all of the red-shirted teams, including Colorado's dark maroon. They also changed against Kansas City, which seems a little odd, since they could have gone all-orange if they were worried about the shorts matching. And, of course, they changed against Dallas, which is just wrong wrong wrong. The worst offense by Houston has to be going all-white against all-black DC. Huh?!

I'll touch on their all-orange home variation when I get to New England.

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Kansas City Wizards

Primary kit: blue/white/blue

Home

7 blue/white/blue

1 blue/blue/blue (Toronto)

1 white/blue/white [LH special]

Away

6 white/blue/white (DC, Chicago, Toronto, Colorado, New England, New York)

2 blue/white/blue (Columbus, Los Angeles)

Kansas City's another team entrenched in "must wear road kit on road," even though in four of those six they didn't really have a need to change from their usual blue/white/blue. Against New England it's definitely necessary, and I guess it's probably for the best against Colorado, though the two just played the reverse fixture yesterday and both wore, basically, their primaries (see Colorado notes). I'll talk about the New York game later, trust me.

Interesting that they chose to change shorts against Toronto at home, rather than having Toronto go to their red shorts.

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Los Angeles Galaxy

Primary kit: white/white/white

Home

8 white/white/white

Away

3 white/white/white (Chivas, Colorado, Dallas)

1 white/green/white (Houston)

Well, we know that the Gals were a special case before the Beckham invasion. Interesting that they chose to start the season at Houston wearing their old green shorts. Not much to analyze here as of yet, but now that they've unveiled their new kits, there will be more to look at.

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New England Revolution

Primary kit: navy/navy/navy

Home

8 navy/navy/navy

Away

6 white/white/white (Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, DC, Houston, Chivas)

2 navy/navy/navy (Los Angeles, New York)

Perhaps the worst offender over the last few years of defaulting to all-white, and this year seems no different. It makes sense for them to change against DC. You could make an argument for Columbus, since the Crew did wear black shirts at home against the Revs. But the rest? No need at all. Chicago is all-red. Houston sports orange and white--though since the Revs insisted on all-white, the Dynamo broke out all-orange. Chivas and Dallas wear red and white shirts--and you wear all-white against them?! I just don't get it, man. Yo, remember last year's MLS cup, where Houston and New England both wore their primaries? Didn't that look cool? Revos, get the hint--the team you're visiting doesn't have to have white shirts for you to wear your colors!

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Red Bull New York

Primary kit: white/red/white

Home

4 white/red/white (Columbus, Chicago, New England, DC)

3 white/white/white (Dallas, Houston, Colorado)

1 navy/navy/navy (Kansas City)

Away

6 navy/navy/navy (Columbus, Dallas, Salt Lake, Toronto, Columbus, Houston)

3 white/red/white (Kansas City, DC, Colorado)

I'm just scratching my head at RBNY. When their new kits were unveiled, the supposed home kit was white/red/white. Then, for their first three home games, they wear all-white. Hm. Two of those teams don't wear any red at all. I don't get it.

Then they do the unspeakable. They wear their road colors at home. Worse yet, they wear all-navy against a team whose colors are blue and white! Hm... one team in white/red/white, the other in blue/white/blue.... the problem here would be what, again? I just hate when teams do that (and I'm looking at my beloved Thunder when I say that).

As for their road choices, equally mind-boggling. They wear their primary kit three times: Kansas City, the team they switch to the navy at home for (bwuh?!); DC, their big rivals (that's a plus); and Colorado, whose home kits are pretty dark, so the navy wouldn't have worked. Otherwise, they wear the road navy against Columbus (no reason), Dallas (perfect), Salt Lake (certainly could have gotten away with white/red/white, or even navy/red/white or navy/white/white), Toronto (made sense), and Houston (probably a wise choice).

As with most things about the MetroBulls, I don't get it.

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Real Salt Lake

Primary kit: red/purple/purple

Home

6 red/purple/purple

1 white/white/white (New York)

Away

7 white/white/white (Chivas, Colorado, Dallas, Chicago, New England, Columbus, Kansas City)

1 red/purple/purple (Los Angeles)

First of all, yes, I'm calling it purple. Calling it blue doesn't seem right, when compared to the blue of, say, Kansas City. So purple it is.

Ok, could someone tell the Mickey Mouse operation that is RSL that they are allowed to mix and match parts of their kits? Seriously, it would help out a lot.

Also, I consider wearing your road kit to accommodate the road team a cardinal sin. It's doubly egregious if the road team is also wearing their road kits, and triply so if their primary kits don't clash with yours in the first place.

And thirdly, their white kits are so very starkly white, even when compared to some of the other all-whites around the league. Bleh.

Three strikes, you're out, Salt Lake. Then again, that's better than your record on the field.

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Toronto FC

Primary kit: red/white/red

Home

7 red/white/red

Away

6 red/white/red (New England, Kansas City, Columbus, New England, Kansas City)

4 grey/red/grey (Chivas, Salt Lake, Chicago, Houston)

Class. Class! Please pay attention! Now, if you'll take your seats, Toronto FC will be giving a presentation.

Out of seventeen total games, Toronto has worn their primary kits thirteen times, including six of ten on the road! They've only worn their grey shirts against teams that wear red (well, and one that's orange, but Toronto's red is a relatively bright shade). There's just not much to say here. TFC gets it.

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So, there you go. Completely pointless research, and it took me about 90 minutes to type up this post. That's CCSLC for you, eh? ^_^

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Why is it that big of a deal that a team wears their primary shirt as much as possible? I can understand not wearing the dreaded white shirt all the time but other than that what's the big deal?

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Personal preference, not much more than that. I just had to laugh at last year's "Embrace the Colors" campaign because of the tendencies for teams to not wear their colors when away from home, even when the two home kits wouldn't clash in the first place.

Soccer teams' fans also tend to identify more with the team's colors than fans of other sports in the US. You don't really hear other teams' sports doing chants (if they do any at all) referencing the team's colors, but you hear it all the time with soccer, even here in the States.

I guess it makes me a EuroSnobâ„¢ to cite this, but when ManUre plays at Chelsea they don't wear their road kit, and they certainly don't when they visit Man City. They generally only change when the change is necessary, and I like it that way.

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Euro teams usually wear their primary shirts more because their change kits don't use their colors.....like Chelsea's highlighters for example. Now in that case I could see the point but as of now all teams use their colors on both shirts.

note: I don't count gray as a non team color because I think of it as a neutral color along with white.

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Houston Dynamo

Primary kit: orange/white/orange

Home

8 orange/white/orange

1 orange/orange/orange (New England)

1 maroon/white/white [VT special]

Away

6 white/orange/white (Colorado, Toronto, Columbus, Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago)

2 orange/white/orange (New York, New England)

1 white/white/white (DC)

The creamsicle look is pretty unique in MLS, but Houston seems to be treating their orange tops like they're actually red, choosing to change when visiting all of the red-shirted teams, including Colorado's dark maroon. They also changed against Kansas City, which seems a little odd, since they could have gone all-orange if they were worried about the shorts matching. And, of course, they changed against Dallas, which is just wrong wrong wrong. The worst offense by Houston has to be going all-white against all-black DC. Huh?!

Kyiv, I don't mind them changing to white when going to places with red-esque colours, as orange and red are next to each other on the colour spectrum, but I agree; White when they play FC Dallas? Boo!

IMO, it's high time for MLS to go to UEFA rules for uniforms and only require kit changes for like colours between teams. After all, it isn't as though it's a hard and fast rule in North Americans sports anymore, just ask the Dallas Cowboys and any team with a third jersey!

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Mockba is exactly right. It should be primary kits whenever possible. End of story.

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To be honest, I've never understood why more sports leagues don't adopt the European football method of uniform selection. Why shouldn't the Chiefs and Chargers both wear their home shirts when they play each other? No one is going to confuse the two jerseys. In the 80's (I think) USC and UCLA used to both wear their home jerseys when they'd play each other, and it looked striking on the field.

The team that I most agree with Mockba is Chivas. When adidas released these kit templates year before last, and I saw that chivas had two versions of red and white stripes, I seriously got angry. For one, there is no purpose that the white-with-red-stripes can achieve that their normal home kit cannot. Secondly, it doesn't really make that much sense from a merchandise perspective, as it's difficult enough to convince a fan that they need to get a new shirt every two years. It's even more difficult to convince them that they need to buy two every two years. It's preposterous to try to convince a fan that they should buy two kits that are virtually the same. Absurd.

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Man...even in a sportslogo message board, my TFC get props from people in the know, and jealously from other teams supporters rears its' ugly head.

But I always wondered about the possibility of a 3rd kit coming into the league. Chicago had a awesome 3rd kit involving the Chicago city flag a few years ago. LA Beckhams had a yellow kit with a blue/purple sash across the chest I think last year.

With all the uproar over 'another red team', or 'another blue team' that came from the fans I would think the owners and merchandisers would be willing to include other spectrums of the rainbow into the league. Maybe next year this will happen. I think Adidas needs to step it up with merch and the owners need to give the fans some choices as to how the team looks. Get the fans involved...have them vote on a 3rd kit, or even choose the home kit. MLS needs to pounce on the Becks hysteria and get visual on the pitch.

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To be honest, I've never understood why more sports leagues don't adopt the European football method of uniform selection. Why shouldn't the Chiefs and Chargers both wear their home shirts when they play each other? No one is going to confuse the two jerseys. In the 80's (I think) USC and UCLA used to both wear their home jerseys when they'd play each other, and it looked striking on the field.

I'm guessing that it comes from television. The advent of home and away uniforms in football roughly corresponds with the rise of television coverage. It was obviously black and white, and having one team in white clearly demarks the teams.

Football in other countries was never covered the same way on television (particularly not in England, where highlights were about as much as a football fan could see on the BBC), so they didn't have the same need for clear contrast.

That's my supposition, anyway.

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yeah I think that although the games are broadcast in color, some of the monitors that technical people working on the show in the broadcast truck use are still in black and white, so they need to clearly be able to tell the teams apart...

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New England Revolution

Primary kit: navy/navy/navy

Home

8 navy/navy/navy

Away

6 white/white/white (Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, DC, Houston, Chivas)

2 navy/navy/navy (Los Angeles, New York)

Perhaps the worst offender over the last few years of defaulting to all-white, and this year seems no different. It makes sense for them to change against DC. You could make an argument for Columbus, since the Crew did wear black shirts at home against the Revs. But the rest? No need at all. Chicago is all-red. Houston sports orange and white--though since the Revs insisted on all-white, the Dynamo broke out all-orange. Chivas and Dallas wear red and white shirts--and you wear all-white against them?! I just don't get it, man. Yo, remember last year's MLS cup, where Houston and New England both wore their primaries? Didn't that look cool? Revos, get the hint--the team you're visiting doesn't have to have white shirts for you to wear your colors!

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Mockba, as a resident Revs fan, I totally agree with you. In fact, I plan on bringing up the issue to their equipment manager next time I can make it to training. I'll simply ask him why the Revs don't ever wear the blue shirt/white short/blue socks and white shirt/blue short/white socks combos. I think the first combo would be particularly nice. I dunno, I'll see what I can do about finding an answer.

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Two errors I found:

Apr. 29, Houston wore orange socks, not white, with their maroon VT tributes (I know I was there)

May 19, Columbus wore black/black/yellow as aways against NY

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I know this won't really apply to this thread, but when Toronto FC played at home against Aston Villa on Wednesday, they worse their clash kit of grey-white-grey.

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New England Revolution

Perhaps the worst offender over the last few years of defaulting to all-white, and this year seems no different. It makes sense for them to change against DC. You could make an argument for Columbus, since the Crew did wear black shirts at home against the Revs. But the rest? No need at all. Chicago is all-red. Houston sports orange and white--though since the Revs insisted on all-white, the Dynamo broke out all-orange. Chivas and Dallas wear red and white shirts--and you wear all-white against them?! I just don't get it, man. Yo, remember last year's MLS cup, where Houston and New England both wore their primaries? Didn't that look cool? Revos, get the hint--the team you're visiting doesn't have to have white shirts for you to wear your colors!

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Mockba, as a resident Revs fan, I totally agree with you. In fact, I plan on bringing up the issue to their equipment manager next time I can make it to training. I'll simply ask him why the Revs don't ever wear the blue shirt/white short/blue socks and white shirt/blue short/white socks combos. I think the first combo would be particularly nice. I dunno, I'll see what I can do about finding an answer.

Frankly, I'm as die-hard a soccer and New England Revolution fan as you could find. Hell, I worked on the season-ticket sales drive that helped secure the MLS franchise for New England. That said, I just don't find the White/White/White kit on the road to be a problem. In fact, I've come to embrace it as part of the Revolution's tradition. I think the team looks brilliant in both their kits. Each is clean, uncluttered and - league "inability" to secure color-coordinated numbering notwithstanding - damn near perfect.

Further, I refuse to get agitated over top-flight professional soccer in the United States failing to jump through hoops in an effort to ape each and every tradition of the game overseas. As long as the rules regarding play are in-line with those of the international game, I could care less that some Major League Soccer squads seem inclined to adopt "American style" team names and logos, as well as the predilection for dedicated home and road kits. In fact, I find it rather refreshing that aside from the rules of play being sacrosanct (which is as it should be), American professional soccer has an opportunity in the other aforementioned areas to embrace some traditions of it's own.

All of this said, when the team had settled on the name Revolution, I remember commenting to a fellow volunteer on the season-ticket campaign that we should wear a primary kit similar to what Chivas USA wears now (i.e., Red-and-White striped jersey, Blue shorts). I felt that it would stand-out from what I presumed would be a host of primarily solid jerseys, while also paying homage to the American flag.

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Gotta agree with Mockba on this one (because it really bothers me too). I think it's important for the teams to wear thier primary colors whenever possible so that they can establish a team identity. When you think of Manchester United, the image of the red shirts spring to mind. The problem that I have with so many white "away" shirts, is that white is actually a color that can be used to establish your identity (Tottenham, Bolton, Derby). It seems the LA Galaxy are going to be using the whites at home (I hope).

Here are change kits that I would like to see:

Houston: Black

Dallas: Solid blue (or solid grey) - keep the hoops as your primary identity

Chivas: Solid blue

RSL: Yellow

Toronto: Dark Grey (the "T" in thier logo)

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It seems the LA Galaxy are going to be using the whites at home (I hope).

They are.

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Toronto: Dark Grey (the "T" in thier logo)

Speaking of the "T" in their logo: in my honest opinion, Toronto FC missed a tremendous opportunity when they failed to adopt a New England Tea Men-esque jersey for their kit.

A red "T" on grey would have looked outstanding in this pattern...

Teamen_1978-80a.gif

Oh, how I miss my beloved Tea Men.

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Toronto: Dark Grey (the "T" in thier logo)

Speaking of the "T" in their logo: in my honest opinion, Toronto FC missed a tremendous opportunity when they failed to adopt a New England Tea Men-esque jersey for their kit.

A red "T" on grey would have looked outstanding in this pattern...

Teamen_1978-80a.gif

Oh, how I miss my beloved Tea Men.

Toronto: "Hey, how about a "T" on the uniform front?"

Adidas: "Sorry, we don't have any templates like that."

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Toronto: Dark Grey (the "T" in thier logo)

Speaking of the "T" in their logo: in my honest opinion, Toronto FC missed a tremendous opportunity when they failed to adopt a New England Tea Men-esque jersey for their kit.

A red "T" on grey would have looked outstanding in this pattern...

Teamen_1978-80a.gif

Oh, how I miss my beloved Tea Men.

Toronto: "Hey, how about a "T" on the uniform front?"

Adidas: "Sorry, we don't have any templates like that."

Heh so true. My first concept ever was actually pretty much what you just said more or less.

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