Baller Mind Frame

2016 MLS Jersey Power Rankings

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The tifos are painted and ready to be hung, chants are ready to be yelled and sung, and goals are ready to be… scored.

Major League Soccer kicks off its 21st season this Sunday with all 20 teams in action starting with Supporters’ Shield holders New York Red Bulls hosting Toronto FC at 1.30PM EST and culminating with D.C. United traveling to LA Galaxy at 10:00 PM EST.

Unlike other North American sporting leagues who tend to keep their jerseys for quite some period of time, the MLS tends to follow the European way and change things up yearly. London, Paris, Baltimore. I am by no means a fashion expert but here are my power rankings for the new jerseys that will be adorned in 2016 starting with the very best.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Away

I love jerseys that have a story behind them rather a generic, predictable effort. Starting with a deep blue and rippling up to a lighter, sky blue, Adidas have harbored inspiration from the “Sea to Sky” northern section of Route 99 to deliver an excellent unique jersey.

Last year’s Western Conference semifinalists begin their season with a visit from fellow Canadians and next to appear on the rankings list, Montreal Impact.

Montreal Impact Home

Montreal Impact will be without star player, Didier Drogba, for four of their first five games to reduce the chance of suffering an injury on turf. I love the combination of blue, silver and black to accentuate the Impact lenticular crest. The four symbols from Montreal’s flag and coat of arms appear on the bottom of the jersey.

Seattle Sounders Third

Seattle Sounders Third

Image courtesy of Football Shirt Culture

Nope. Never seen anything like this but hey, I like it. Much like the Vancouver’s jersey, the color blue has been used with natural elements in mind. This time it’s Washington’s Puget Sound in which Seattle owe their name too. I almost stared a little bit too much and the girl from the Ring started to climb out of it.

Clint Dempsey and co will be looking to start the season strong with a home win against Sporting Kansas City at 7:00PM EST.

New York City FC Away

New York City FC Away Image courtesy of Football Shirt Culture

I know, another blue jersey! But look at this one. At first, I really wasn’t sure what to make of this jersey, but I have really started to warm to it. NYFC’s home jersey is far too similar to Manchester City’s so the away kit allows for NYCFC to stand alone and it rightly does so by incorporating the colors of New York City’s flag. The focal part of the jersey is the circles that ripple away from the team’s crest. Fans voted to have “This City Never Sleeps” to be included inside the jersey. The jersey was launched by a video campaign featuring players Poku, David Villa, and Andrea Pirlo. video campaign

New York City FC hopes to improve upon their inaugural season by gaining three points on their travels to Chicago Fire at 2:00 PM EST.

Sporting Kansas City Away

OK. Last blue jersey for a while. I have it out my system. I really like the tonal blue stripes on this jersey which features a Henley style collar and initials SKC on the back of the neck.

Kansas City is away to Seattle Sounders for the first game of the season which will be featured on FS1 at 7:00 PM EST.

Houston Dynamo Away

“Forever Orange” is the Dynamo’s motto and it appears on the inside of the jersey. The jersey features an orange V across the chest which is reminiscent of Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup winning outfit as well as the Texas state flag on the bottom corner. Whilst it does looks nice, playing in black in the heat of August could cause troublesome for the Dynamo.

After failing to make last year’s playoffs, head coach Owen Coyle’s Houston host the New England Revolution on opening day at 3:00 PM EST.

D.C. United Home

Another black jersey which makes me break into a sweat just thinking about running around in the grueling Washington D.C. humidity. Sweet and simple; it’s the little things that make me love this jersey. The collar features a silhouette of various monuments that are synonymous with the Nation’s Capital as well as on outline of the District of Columbia. United also debut a new crest.

Fun fact: Adidas originally messed up the taping inside the jersey and So D.C’S motto “Taxation Without Representation” became “Without Representation Taxation.”

2015 Eastern Conference Semifinalists, D.C. United, fly out to face the LA Galaxy which will be aired on UniMás at 10:00 PM EST.

FC Dallas Home

I almost missed this one. FC Dallas just revealed their 2016 home jersey on Thursday night in a “Cocktails and Cleats” event. One sleeve contains a patch with the initials LH which pays tribute to the team’s late owner, Lamar Hunt. The thicker red hoops from last year have been replaced with smaller white and red hoops giving a retro vibe to the jersey. The Advocare sponsor has also been reduced in size from last year which sits much more pleasingly.

Tipped by many to go the whole way this year, FC Dallas face off against the Philadelphia Union at 3:00 PM EST.

Toronto FC Away

Will we be seeing Drake wear Toronto FC’s new away kit this year? The predominantly white jersey features a red but more importantly, blue trim that has never been used in Toronto’s colors. A red maple leaf sits at the base of the shirt to remind us Toronto is in Canada. Toronto has the Three Musketeers and also, which I didn’t know until now, Switzerland motto “All for one” emblazoned on the back of the collar.

Reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco and the rest of his Toronto FC musketeers play across the border against neighbors, New York Red Bulls at 1.30PM EST.

New York Red Bulls Away

Speaking of Red Bulls, here they are! 2015’s Supporters’ Shield winners which are awarded to the MLS team with the best regular-season record. The jersey manages to make both the Red Bull font and logo appear twice. Subtle pin-stripes and a red trim add an original touch to the Red Bulls traditional away staple.

Chicago Fire Home

Ah, the only soccer team in the world to be named after a soap opera. That may or may not be true. Chicago goes for an underwhelming red jersey with a white band across the chest this year as opposed to last year’s blue and red combo. I do really like the use of the Maltese Cross on the crest and I miss the Quaker sponsor on the front as Valspar take over duties.

Statistically the worst team in the 2015 season, Chicago hope to douse the flames of New York City FC at 2:00 PM EST.

Philadelphia Union Home

There’s a snake in my Doop!

Philadelphia Union’s home jersey receives a slight upgrade from the previous season’s campaign. The gold bar down the middle stays but also contains a snake skin style material when viewed closely. The slippery snake features no less than three times on the jersey. Philly finds themselves this far down this list for the God awful sponsor they find slapped across the front. Please, can we have Wawa next year? Even Utz Cheese Balls would be better.

The Union who will be looking to improve upon last season’s poor results will make the trip to Texas to take on FC Dallas at 3:00 PM EST.

LA Galaxy Home

Another year, another sash for the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy kits will be the only ones to feature a single gold star. Which, confusingly, signifies that the club has won an MLS-record five MLS Cup Championships. Sponsor, Herbalife Nutrition, adorns the front which would make me feel slightly better about myself drinking 10 beers and eating a large pizza in one sitting.

LA Galaxy will wear this jersey when they open against D.C. United at 10:00 PM EST.

Orlando City SC Away

Bland and predictable and looks like a standard design out of Adidas’ stock. The lion bears a resemblance to the new English Premier Logo in an otherwise forgettable attempt.

Kaka and the boys square off against Real Salt Lake at 2:00 PM EST.

Seattle Sounders Home

Certainly anything but bland and predictable is the Seattle Sounders home jersey. I suppose it is pretty cool that they share similar colors with stadium roommates, the Seattle Seahawks. The “Rave Green” body features ‘SS’ woven into the material. I just can’t help but think a 7-year-old boy picked out these colors.

Seattle opens their 2016 season against Sporting Kansas City at 7:00 PM EST.

Real Salt Lake Home

Are you Spain in disguise?!

Real Salt Lake travel to Orlando City SC for a 2:00 PM EST.

New England Revolution Home

Are you Paris Saint-Germain in disguise?!

New England opens on the road against Home Dynamo at 3:00 PM EST

Portland Timbers Away

Reigning MLS Cup holders probably have one if not the nicest home jerseys in the MLS. The Timbers crest is also one of my favorites in the league but none of that seems to help here. Red fading stripes contain thorns and the tape around the neck is inscribed with, “No pity in the Rose City.” I like the premise of this jersey but it just looks a little too horror story.

Portland will look to repeat their 2015 fairy tale, in a rematch against MLS Cup runners-up, Columbus Crew SC.

Columbus Crew Away

My eyes. MY EYES. I get that you want to represent the city of Columbus and use the flag as inspiration but C’mon? C’mon! It says something when your home jersey which consists of yellow and black is less garish than your away kit. The whole situation is made worse when paired with blue shorts.

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