Welcome to the first of 20 reviews throughout the upcoming winter, the offseason is a long one but the always loved releases of new MLS jerseys and shorts keeps us going through the colder months. The League has broken the usual kit week releases this year to get the Orlando City and New York City FC fans buying shirts for the Christmas season, giving us hope that, perhaps, they might release other club's new kits before the jolly holiday.
But first up is indeed Orlando City Soccer Club. The land of the humidity and alligators has at last returned to MLS after 13 years of no Floridian teams. Florida is well known for being a flamboyant state and OCSC sticks to the tradition of showing up in style.
In a league that is tortured by the unending jersey colors of blue and red, the combination of the two into purple is a welcome addition. While it will clash with blue, the inevitable plain white clash version of this shirt will take care of those doubts. I imagine that one will release soon and just be an inverse of the white and purple parts of the shirt.
Let's talk about that the crest. A lot of people thought it was half hearted and uninspired. I too thought the story behind the mane/21 teams was lame at first but now, it's outdated. If we were to look at it that way, Tampa and Miami should have had tuffs of fur on the lion's head, ouch. Still, it's better than the Three Headed Monstrosity that was the former logo, which for some reason is on the inside of the jersey, opposite of the new crest. No, no, take it out, it's awful and has no place in MLS.
Generic team name on the back of the neck, but everyone does that nowadays, so no problems there. Do like the crown by itself there though, looks slick. The new MLS logo looks especially good in colors like purple and gold that allow it to pop out a bit more than just plain red and white. The MLS logo inspired front neckline is a stretch, since I've seen this feature on Adidas jerseys before but whatever, if it helps them sleep at night, so be it.
The real treat of this jersey, and what really makes it a winner, is the faint lighter purple striping on the fronts. Purple is already an underused color in sports, so two different uses of it makes this jersey an instant classic. Orlando City picked a winner by choosing to move to purple from red in 2011, then sticking with it in the move to MLS.
Overall, Orlando City comes out of the gates in their Kaka driven freshmen year as one of the best looking teams in the league. On a scale of 1-10, I give this shirt a solid 8.7. The white stripe at the bottom is awkward and doesn't fit, but the neckline gold striping makes up for it. Hard to create a great jersey in your first season without much tradition to work from, but it's a solid rookie outing. Can't wait to see them play against whatever Sporting KC is wearing when the season rolls around.
Next week, I'll be taking a look at New York City FC's new kits after they are released on the 13th. I expect them to be Manchester City blue, look like Manchester City, pretty much just Manchester City if Adidas was their kit maker. Don't expect any surprises there, except for the lack of Fat Frank Lampard. Til then, here's to Chivas USA, we'll miss you baby.