MLS 2022 Kit Summary (Part 1 – A to L)
Tag Team, back…
Kit Nerds, rejoice! For it is ours, this third annual tete-a-tete between me and the illustrious Marc Hinkley: the first, second and last word on kits in my sphere, your sphere, pretty much the whole sphere. He’s the guy who explained Colorways to me once and also has a size chart so I know to take size x3 on Charly kits.
As always, let’s go alphabetically, and we’ll each bring a blurb and a note. This year, however, we have decided to split the kits into two (2) WTR items.
This is the first part – AL
ATLANTA UNITED: The Forest Kit (AWAY)
Mark Hinkley (MH): This is an original Adidas model. Atlanta away kits should always be peach-colored with green trim. You’re leaving money on the table doing something else. I imagine the infographic explanation would be laughable.
Jeffrey P. Nesker (JPN): Although I don’t understand the green or “forest” theme (I remember Atlanta as two streets; Peachtree and Piedmont, and they were both long lengths of concrete and centers linear commercials between CNN and the Coca-Cola Museum), I’m actually evaluating that. It’s clean and crisp and oh so close to the MLS-meets-British-Racing-Green kit of my dreams.
AUSTIN FC: The Sentimiento Kit (AWAY)
JPN: Oh look, another new kit. is this what children call “fashionable”? Also, I can’t take the name seriously, it’s hipster nonsense. Looks like an underripe Nashville kit. Yawn.
MH: I’m in the camp that mint as a primary color is overplayed, underwhelming and two years too late as trends come and go. Black is a simple balance, but it’s plain and blah.
CF MONTREAL – Secondary Kit (EXTERIOR)
MH: I see Arsenal’s second recycled kit design, and I’m okay with that. Honestly, another terrible palette leaves little flexibility, but I’ll admit “Microsoft Word’s default blue” because a marble pattern kinda works here. It’s quite interesting. Can’t wait to see how it pairs with their boring home kit next year, replacing the current boring home kit.
JPN: I really liked him in the original Arsenal.
CHARLOTTE FC: The Caroline Kit (Home)
JPN: I really really loved in the original Arsenal Part 2: Electric Boogaloo.
MH: I love the Arsenal deep sky blue/white sleeve treatment here. The V-neck collar and cuffs are pretty, it’s simple yet iconic and hard to mess up. Adidas haven’t been super generous with decent first kits, but it’s a stellar start.
CHARLOTTE FC: The new jersey (AWAY)
MH: Do you see Austin? It’s better. Still played but better, the main difference being those wavy bits on the collar and cuffs and the reverse of the colors. It’s always good.
JPN: I refuse to get even a little excited for a color reversal of last year’s LAFC away kit. Charlotte has been worked on by Adidas here, the two inaugural kits are lesser versions of recent drops. Not a good omen for the side. Not at all.
CHICAGO FIRE SC: The Watertower Kit (HOME)
JPN: I wonder if they used the same material here as the new Colorado kit, it looks loose and sheer and shines like faux silk, the perfect kit to wear over a hoodie like the make cool kids. Sublimated details on the chest are cool if they come dangerously close to looking like a manufacturing error.
MH: A pattern on the chest of a local iconic building tower thing that has meaning and identity is nice. It has the upgraded badge which is good. Not much to it, until a sponsor ruins it, but that’s the road to fix.
COLORADO RAPIDS: The Club Kit (HOME)
JPN: See? It’s the same as Chicago above. This one is prettier because the lighter primary color allows us to see those soft (?) sublimated details.
MH: It’s a great kit. Burgundy/sky blue is always a winning combination. It could have been improved by adding sky blue mountain peaks in the chest fabric, adding sky blue cuffs and/or maybe it’s the Canadian in me, making the rocks look like more like mountains and less like maple leaves.
COLUMBUS CREW SC: The Gold Standard kit (HOME)
MH: You really got yourself into a corner with that c-banner badge thing. The previous iteration had checkers. You can/could do so many things with the ladies. Except the fabric has isometric cubes, surely in honor of their much heralded box industry.
JPN: If you have to get REALLY close to the kit to see the details that make it NOT a plain yellow T-shirt, you might find it hard to sell said kit, and double the deodorant. Also I. Hated. This. New. Badge.
DC UNITED: The Black and Red Kit (HOME)
JPN: I really like that. The black on black with red trim is sleek and stylish. I really hope the eventual sponsor of Crypto-Bro doesn’t spoil it.
GRADE: (Unsponsored) A / (Sponsored) UNKNOWN.
MH: I feel like it takes some effort to make a bad DC kit. They have a great badge, strong colors, and even with eye-rolling crypto sponsors, it’s still great. I love the black with black stripes inside the chest. It’s so simple, so pleasant. I would have liked more red and the only place I could adapt it would have been to make the collars and cuffs all red instead of a thin red stripe outlined in black.
FC CINCINNATI: The Juncta Juvant Kit (Home)
MH: I think they were borderline perfect. I love their color palette, so loving this orange with blue trim would be hard to undo. I dig the silver stripes on the shoulder a bit, it’s a little weird, but it’s a safe place to have fun. I like the blue/silver badge treatment. I like the print of the civic flag outline into the fabric where the badge sits in the center of the “C”. I feel like the godfather should have been white, that’s all.
JPN: WKRP FC (h/t Vocal Minority) legitimately have big fans, a great new barn and great kits – too bad for football. This is another firecracker. The color is beautiful, the cut is tight. To clean.
FC DALLAS: The Crescendo Kit (Home)
JPN: This kit is half way too nifty, the “hoops” look like a mistake, there are blocks of solid blue in weird places. I want to love her more but I can’t.
MH: Why not solid hoops? How about solid hoops with uniform size/spacing? Why this? Why both mesh hoops and progressively thinner hoops? How about JUST the mesh hoops, but we keep it the same size as the top one and go all the way down. You’re welcome. You didn’t.
HOUSTON DYNAMO: The Bayou City Kit (EXTERIOR)
MH: Why? Frankly, why? It’s like there is a reservoir of creativity in Germany for the whole league and they have a thimble of creativity left for this one. It’s apparently called the “Bayou City” kit, and it looks like mud and pollution.
JPN: I don’t hate it as much as Hinkley does, but I certainly don’t like it either. Concrete Camo or Rorschach test? We do not care?
INTER MIAMI CF: The Heartbeat Kit (HOME)
JPN: Oh, Team Miami Beckhams, it really shouldn’t be that hard. It’s taken all this time to make a pink kit, and we get this worn-in thing that I can guarantee is see-through from sweat after 2 minutes of gaming action.
MH: It looks like design over the phone. The pink collar, which I love, is the most interesting part and pulls it from being a C-. Pink with black but pink. Apparently there is some inspiration from famous owner David Beckham and I don’t care. David Beckham is not an artist, he is an owner. You got a nice badge, give me a nice house shirt, damn it.
THE GALAXY: The City of Dreams Kit (HOME)
MH: Dude, did you see what the neighbors did? Have you seen? You thought adding all those 4-point stars everywhere was going to wow? I mean, from a distance, it looks like the necklace is shimmering, which is one hell of an optical illusion considering there’s no metal in there. It’s strange, but also very “LA Galaxy”. It’s both “wacky MLS” and yet “Galaxy on-brand”. So I don’t hate it.
LAFC: The Five Year Anniversary Kit (HOME)
JPN: The general consensus is that it’s the choice of litter. Let me be contrary. I HATE center badges. Art Deco is cool, for Miami. (Yes, I know downtown LA is all about decor, but downtown LA is 1300th on where you go in LA/think when you hear the words “Los Angeles”) .
MH: Are we doing “S Tier” on this Jeff? Frankly, look at it. It looks like art, looks classy, classic, classy. It’s like “Holy shit, how can we do better in two years?”. It exudes Los Angeles, an old gold art deco motif. The shirt’s vertical patterns lend themselves to centering and stacking the Adidas badge and sponsors. It’s incredible. It’s too good for MLS. Well done.
So there you have it, the first 14 kits in our roundup. Since I’m letting Markus have the final say and putting his “summary” blurb as the closest to part 2, I’ll grade mine below:
This year’s harvest is a huge meh for me. Did I even give an A rating to a single kit? The fact that I don’t care to remember says a lot about my overall impressions. There’s no knockout like last year’s LAG Away (he still longs for the long sleeve) and the TFC one is divisive. Overall, there are far too many designs ‘borrowed’ from other Adidas clubs (looking at you, Arsenal) and they’ve even recycled bits and pieces from MLS kits released only last year. The luster of that exclusive deal with Adidas has long since worn off. TO GIVE. ME. HUMMEL. HERRINGBONE.
What do you think of our reviews? Accept? The other? Let us know in the comments and keep your eyes peeled for a special episode of Waking The Red Weekly in which Mark and I discuss our ratings.