Friday, June 21, 2024
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Every new MLS kit reviewed: Our picks for the best and worst of 2024

After years of complaints about an abundance of boring, plain white kits in MLS, creativity has finally taken hold over the last few seasons. As a result, we’re seeing more and more genuinely good kits — or, at the very least, interesting ones — featuring a healthy mix of retro and modern influences. This season brings a new batch to evaluate, and Pablo Maurer, Felipe Cardenas and Brooks Peck are once again up to the task. Join us on a journey from the vibrant to the overwhelmingly purple.

GO DEEPER

The new MLS kits that stand out (for better or worse)

Inter Miami — “2getherness Jersey” 

Brooks: Once Messi joined Miami, their previous home shirt became what must have been the most bootlegged soccer jersey in the world. This new one looks like Miami took an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach and adopted a bootleg kit as their official one. In other words, it looks like something you’d buy in a parking lot. In 2005. 

Felipe: Creative agencies in Argentina are among the best in the world, especially when it comes to soccer advertisements. To your point, Brooks, Inter Miami used that creative approach to unveil this new shirt, using an Argentine voiceover actor to tell the story of Messi’s memorable first go in pink. Frankly, I liked the video. The kit, though, it’s expected. There’s nothing special about it. 

Pablo: More than any kit I’ve ever seen in MLS history, this one truly feels like a walking billboard. That’s obviously a design feature from Miami and Royal Caribbean point of view, but it would absolutely keep me from wearing this. And besides, nobody wants to see me in pink.

New York Red Bulls — “Legacy Kit” 

Felipe: It’s loud, it’s red and it’s a well executed nod to the NY/NJ MetroStars without going full retro kit. This new Red Bulls Legacy jersey really pops. It’s party on the front, business on the back. Red and black, when put together like this, create an intimidating color palette that’s easy to like. 

Pablo: A really well-executed example of putting a modern touch on an old staple. The jersey really does scream “MetroStars,” doesn’t it? All that’s left now is to go out and lose in it, in as heartbreaking fashion as possible.

New England Revolution — “Boston Tea Party Kit”

Brooks: The kit looks pretty good, though I think it would’ve been better without the pinstripes. Also, since Massachusetts born Noel Buck chose to represent England over the U.S. does that mean the Revs have to throw him in the harbor? 

Pablo: Man, if you’re a soccer team from New England and you’re going to do a throwback to the Tea Party, why not pay homage to the hilariously-named New England Tea Men of the NASL? Owned in part by the Lipton tea company (I am not making that up), the team played a pair of seasons in the Boston area before relocating to Jacksonville, Florida, where they — for some inexplicable reason — chose to retain the Tea Men moniker. Those are Utah Jazz levels of delusion. Anyway, they had some great kits

Felipe: Every year we watch professional soccer players look at the camera and act like they’ve just conquered Rome. They kiss the club badge awkwardly while pulling Excalibur from a medieval stone. This Boston Tea Party reveal video is one of the more hilarious examples of preseason hype that I have ever seen. It may not have been intentional, but it conjures memories of one of the best Saturday Night Live musical sketches of all time

Philadelphia Union — “XV Kit” 

Felipe: I haven’t been impressed with any of the Union’s recent jerseys, and that’s fine. The Union is not a flashy side. This new kit reminds me more of a sweater polo, and while I like sweater polos, this look feels contrived. There’s nothing blue collar about it. Anniversary concepts are difficult to pull off, too.

Brooks: Felipe, this shirt literally has a blue collar on it.

Pablo: While I largely do agree with Felipe’s analysis here, I still like this kit. And that’s solely because it’s good to see the Union with a vertically placed, center stripe. The Union’s early kits were among the league’s most iconic and I’m happy to see them embracing that look once again, even if they’re doing it in a muted, more modern way here. 

Brooks: They also stayed on brand with the snakeskin vibe to that stripe down the middle, which makes it unique. This is a good one.

Sporting Kansas City — “Diamonds Our Forever Kit” 

Brooks: I’m glad the argyle is back, even if it does make Sporting KC look like a 1930s golf team. It’s a unique element in a world with so few unique kit designs. But the name of it makes my eye twitch. 

Felipe: Apparently, every kiss begins with this kit. 

Portland Timbers — “Nature Unites Kit”

Felipe: I really like Portland’s home and away kits. The entire look screams Portland in a fresh and modern way. These two jerseys are among the most street-wearable kits of the 2024 season. 

Pablo: I’m going to need to see this one in action over a few weeks. I loved Portland’s 2022 kit, for example, with its lovely floral theme. But they just looked weird on the field. Then again, these shirts are designed more for everyday use at this point than game use, so you’re probably on to something. 

Charlotte FC — “The Carolina Kit” 

Felipe: This look from Charlotte FC is so much better than the club’s original design — an amateurish concoction that summed up the side’s underwhelming start in MLS. The Carolina Kit is airy and simple. It’s a uniform that any player would feel comfortable wearing. 

Pablo: This is among the very best releases this year, a far cry from the T-shirts the club sported last year. It’s good to see the CLT getting a little more in touch with its identity in 2024.

New York City FC — “24/7 Kit” 

Felipe: This is essentially Roma’s new third kit, but with baby blue stripes on the left shoulder. I like Roma’s all-black look, so naturally this 24/7 kit passes the eye test. Again, it’s not a groundbreaking look, but not every new jersey has to be. NYCFC proved that you can’t go wrong with black. 

Brooks: It looks very New York. The blending of the orange and light blue makes it stand out. I’m pretty sure anyone who puts this kit on instantly starts talking like Joe Pesci.

Toronto FC — “GTA Kit” 

Felipe: Another simple, can’t-go-wrong look. Yes, it has Bayern Munich vibes, but it’s also about as Adidas as you can get. But Toronto nailed the name of this kit one, albeit unintentionally. When you combine the self-combustible personality of John Herdman with poor results and two volatile Italians in Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, the ‘24 season could play out like an open world, rated-M video game. TFC fans be like “Ah s—, here we go again.”

Brooks: This is a very bland kit, but after all the drama of last season, maybe they’re hoping this look helps calm everyone down.

Real Salt Lake — “Peak Utah Kit” 

Pablo: This is the very best of all of the 2024 kits, for my money — highly wearable on the field and off it and an obvious nod to the mountains that surround Salt Lake City and the club’s stadium itself. RSL has a strong color identity and they’ve used it well here. Do something about the club’s name now.

Felipe: Like the Timbers’ 2024 kit, this RSL look is authentic to the club’s surrounding communities. I like it. The design is very simple and self-explanatory. An easy win.  

CF Montreal — “La Main Kit”

Pablo: The kit is bland and unimaginative and it is absolutely, positively hilarious that they put the word “Impact” on the neck tape, a nod to a name and identity they so aggressively shunned only several years ago. No thank you!

Brooks: Did they name it after a road because the stripe down the side looks like a tire mark?

D.C. United — “The Icon Kit” 

Pablo: D.C. says this new kit is an homage to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which neighbors Audi Field, the club’s home stadium. I’m not really seeing it, I guess. Mostly I see Q-Bert. Either way, this is a decent effort from United, who (Cherry Blossoms aside) hasn’t had a decent kit to speak of in years. 

Seattle Sounders — “The Anniversary Kit” 

Felipe: I like this, straight up. They had me with the vintage Adidas shorts. The retro shirt is also very well executed. This look is going to be a memorable one in Seattle for years to come. 

Pablo: Along with RSL and Charlotte, this is among the year’s best looks, for me. I am absolutely in love with this shirt, which is the first featuring the club’s new colorway and crest. The vertical striping is great, and supposedly a throwback to the club’s “iconic” 1983 kit (I didn’t even remember this, which was used as the NASL and the Sounders were circling the drain) but nevertheless, it’s absolutely fantastic. The club says that the kit is also part of a broader effort to celebrate its own history over the course of the year, so I’m into it. Great stuff.

Brooks: It’s a nice look, but it’s going to take some getting used to the Sounders not wearing aggressively neon colors. It feels like an EDM group releasing a folk album.

Orlando City — “Legacy Kit”

Felipe: The three-headed lion badge is absolutely killer. Love it. The kit, though, is a bit of a mess. I know the look honors Orlando City’s early history, but the color combination is an odd mashup. 

Brooks: I don’t like this. That shirt needed to be paired with dark shorts. Too much pale purple.

Houston Dynamo — “Still Holdin’ Kit” 

Brooks: Orlando City should probably sue the Dynamo for stealing one of their kits. 

Felipe: What in the world is Houston thinking? 

Pablo: This team is coached by a literal painter, just cut him loose on next year’s kit and see what happens.

FC Dallas — “Afterburner Kit” 

Felipe: I don’t mind this one. The design won’t win any awards but the color scheme is quintessential Texas and that’s the only box that FC Dallas needed to check. 

Pablo: This is the laziest design of the year, probably, and it’s not terrible. This really has been a banner year, hasn’t it.

Chicago Fire — “Return to Red Kit”

Felipe: The Chicago Fire is red again! After destroying their original look and feel, one that was synonymous with champions and MLS icons, the Fire has finally gotten the memo. Multiple failed rebrands have come and gone. Hopefully lessons were learned and Chicago will stick with what wasn’t broken in the first place. 

Pablo: Agreed, Felipe. Nature really is healing, isn’t it.

Austin FC — ”The Armadillo Kit” 

Brooks: This looks like a T-shirt Matthew McConaughey probably wore in Dazed and Confused. That’s not a bad thing — this shirt just has a ‘70s vibe to me. 

Felipe: It’s not bad, but it may also be a subliminal message from Austin that a Saudi takeover is imminent. 

Pablo: Bland and unimaginative. Hopefully my review ends up taped on the designer’s wall or something. 

St. Louis City — “The Confluence Kit”

Felipe: The what kit? Another example of a creative team that failed to keep it simple. 

Pablo: Felipe, you simpleton. It’s the “Confluence” kit, inspired by the intersection of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers… and I can’t even finish typing this because I’m so exhausted by poorly-executed, over-thought kits like these. This thing looks like a topographical map, and not in any good way. 

Minnesota United — “Starry Night Kit”  

Felipe: One of the top looks for the 2024 season. I don’t mind the concept’s name either. The design matches the idea. Well done. 

Brooks: I feel like Minnesota needs to play under a giant blacklight when they wear this kit. If the Target logo doesn’t glow in the dark I’m going to be very upset.

Pablo: “We are all made of stardust” screamed Minnesota’s backline as they drifted quietly into the mist behind the playoff line.

Vancouver Whitecaps — “The 50 Kit” 

Felipe: I will never hate on a black and gold design because it’s virtually fail proof. But this one from Vancouver sets up the club to like LAFC’s Canadian affiliate. 

Brooks: It’s actually a navy blue, but it really does look far too close to LAFC for comfort. This kit needed another element to it — like the leaf design on the scarf in the image above.

Columbus Crew — “The Home Kit” 

Brooks: Yeah, it’s giving Charlie Brown, but it’s also a great jersey! I would buy this! Go Columbus Charlie Browns! 

Felipe: This is one way to go from league champions to lovable losers. 

Pablo: Say what you will about the Crew, they have maybe the strongest color identity in the league. Strip every detail off this jersey, including the crest, and it would scream Columbus. And to think, the club’s colorway started out as them simply ripping off the Pittsburgh Steelers. They got it right, I guess. 

Colorado Rapids — “One Flag Kit” 

Felipe: I think this looks good. I could care less about the Rocky Mountain tie-in, but I’m not a local. Bottom line, the all burgundy kit simply looks sharp. 

Brooks: Is this an homage to West Ham’s early ’90s home kit? It’s not bad, but the flag effect they were going for just doesn’t quite work.

LA Galaxy — “Angeleno Kit” 

Felipe: To me, Los Angeles is urban street art, street food and one of the world’s preeminent hubs for multicultural communities. All I see here is an uninspiring all-white kit. In a way, the Galaxy has been the league’s Real Madrid, featuring a very similar color palette. Madrid doesn’t always impress with their home kits, either, but they’ve earned that right. The Galaxy still has work to do. 

Pablo: A rare miss from a team that has killed nearly every kit they’ve released in the past decade.

LAFC — ”Primary Kit” 

Felipe: I liked this one at first glance but I’m not overly impressed after a second look. Feels like a very safe design for a risk-taking club like LAFC. Nonetheless, I guarantee it’ll be a big seller. Also, where’s Carlos Vela? 

Brooks: I’m not a fan of the pinstripes. Looks like Al Capone’s pajamas.

Atlanta United — “The Resurgens Kit” 

Felipe: Ever since Atlanta United’s year-five banjo kit fell incredibly short of expectations, Atlantans have held their breath before every new release. There hasn’t been an away kit that has been unanimously beloved since the club launched in 2017. Whether that changes with the new Resurgens Kit is TBD. This new look is another creative departure from previous jerseys, but it could become a fan favorite if Atlanta can find consistency on the road.

Brooks: As someone who is not from Atlanta, I never would have known what the design was supposed to be had I not watched that video and looked up the city seal. Not the best execution.

Nashville SC — “The 615 Kit”

Pablo: This is a really strong, simple effort and the kit pairs exceptionally well with the kind of midnight blue shorts Hany Mukthar is wearing here. Nashville has learned in recent years to keep things simple while still pulling it off — look at last year’s Johnny Cash-inspired kit

Brooks: This is indeed a Nashville SC kit.

San Jose Earthquakes — “The 50 Kit”  

Pablo: I’m of course going to be partial to any kit featuring the NASL, but I’m torn on this one. Throwback Quakes logo aside, this one is a bit too plain. Then again, the original Quakes always kept their kits fairly simple and “clean,” so to speak, so it almost fits. Still, I doubt that was done with any intentionality, and I can hardly see George Best, Chris Dangerfield and the rest of the lot patrolling the field at Spartan Stadium in this getup.

Brooks: If only they had fully committed and emblazoned that Quakes logo across the chest. But I guess prominently featuring corporate sponsors is a big part of why MLS is still in business and the NASL isn’t.

Felipe: FC Cincinnati’s colors allow them to get really creative with their looks. With Orange as their standout tint, even a plain white kit can pop. I like the detail on the sleeves and on the V-neck collar. After that though, it’s just an MLS All Star jersey from 2018.

Brooks: Yeah, sorry Cincinnati, but this is a cop out. “Here, you do the work” isn’t a design. If you really want to highlight local creatives, hire them to fill that white space and truly make it something special.

Pablo: Much like the person who designed this kit, I have nothing to add to the conversation.

Consensus top three new kits

Consensus bottom three new kits

(Top photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


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