The Good and the Not So Good- a look at some creations from the 2021 Major season

In recent seasons the MLS has been a rich hunting ground for football (or should say soccer) jersey aficionados, with some truly innovative and original designs stemming from the US’s top football league.

With the 2022 season not far away, here we give a rundown of some of our favorite MLS jerseys that graced the just concluded 2021 MLS season, bringing some cheer to all those fans who are not New York City Football Club supporters!

LAFC Away Kit

It is rare for a sponsor to add a touch of class to a footy jersey, with most designers usually trying in vain to find a way to make an ugly logo or brand aesthetically pleasing. That was done with aplomb by the minds behind the LAFC away kit, who decided to make the most of their FLEX power tools linkup, to produce a tight-fitting shirt that oozed strength and quality.

LAFC Flex

Another nice added touch was the “Los Angeles” embroidered sleeve ends as well as the fact that the kit’s official name was the “Heart of Gold Community Kit” in honor of the LA’s teachers, emergency responders, doctors, and nurses. There is a good reason that this shirt with Carlos Vela’s name and number was the third most sold MLS shirt in 2021.

Portland Timbers Home Kit

With home advantage in the MLS Cup final, Portland were expected by betting experts and pundits to overcome the challenge posed by New York City FC, but in the end not even their vociferous fanbase could roar them through a penalty shootout, in which goalkeeper Steve Clark appeared to be incapable of diving. Despite the crushing disappointment of missing out on the MLS title and not quite being able to make the most of their free bets, home fans will at least have been cheered by their unusual home jersey, which has a grungy and woody feel that somehow fits perfectly with the Timbers’ overall vibe.

Portland

Everything about the jersey has a back-to-roots feel, from the stitch effect up the front, to the Alaska Airlines logo and the three crowns stitched inside the collar. It’s not a shirt that will please everyone, but that’s kind of the point.

Orlando City Home Kit

When your club colors are purple it can be difficult to make any shirt look acceptable, and that was very much the case with Orlando’s 2021 effort, which seemed to regress from the nicely patterned number that the club plumped for during the 2020 campaign. It does not help that the club logo and sponsor look like they were designed on Microsoft Paint.

OCSC

Philadelphia Union Away Kit

Other than a questionable design attempted by the Seattle Sounders, most of the 2021 MLS kits were a case of their manufacturers playing things safe and not trying to reinvent the wheel. Unfortunately, this made for quite a few boring jerseys that will not live long in the memories of fans around the league or indeed further afield.

Philly Union

Let us be thankful then that the Philadelphia Union away kit bucked the trend, offering up a zany lightning design, partnered with sky blue coloring and yellow highlights. The effect is that much of the yellow lettering appears blurred at a distance, but you won’t find fans of retro football jerseys complaining.

Philly also reached the EC final before going down to NYCFC on home soil in Chester, with covid affecting their ability to field a full strength side.

Seattle Sounders FC Away Kit

While the Union should be commended for their bold away kit effort in 2021, another team who were less successful in the creativity stakes were the Seattle Sounders whose away kit was supposed to be inspired by Jimi Hendrix and yet looked more like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not that we have anything against creepy Roald Dahl books, but this was supposed to be a football jersey!

Sounders