Posts Tagged ‘ MLS ’

MLS Kits 2017

Get the podcast here: MLS Kits 2017

JR Francis (@paynomind on twitter) came back on the #SoccerNomad podcast to look at the kits for the 2017 MLS season. Our conversation covered a lot of ground and pulled references both far and wide. Hope you enjoy our conversation.

Resources

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Seattle Sounders Change Shirt 2013 and 2014

The Seattle Sounders entered their fifth season looking to reach MLS Cup after falling just short the previous season. Sigi Schmid was still at the helm and the roster received a little bit of a shake up with star forward Fredy Montero going out on loan to Sporting Club de Portugal and an influx of several new players. DeAndre Yedlin, Lamar Neagle, Shalrie Joseph, and Obafemi Martins joined the team ahead of the season, with US international Clint Dempsey signed in August.

The Sounders finished fourth in the Western Conference for the 2013 campaign, just one point above the red line. Poor performances bookended their season, as Seattle picked up only two points from the opening five matches and the closed the season with three draws and four losses. On the plus side, CenturyLink Field was a fortress as the team won ten, drew five and only lost twice at home. Seattle beat Colorado Rapids in the 4/5 play in game to set up a match with Cascadia rivals and #1 seed Portland Timbers. A 2-1 home loss was followed by a 3-2 loss at Jeld-Wen and the Sounders were out of the playoffs again.

Seattle did not find success in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, losing at the first hurdle away to Tampa Bay 1-0. A Cascadia Cup triumph eluded the Sounders as well as they finished third with Vancouver Whitecaps claiming the trophy.

Eddie Johnson led the team with 12 goals in all competitions and Mauro Rosales chipped in with eight assists. Michael Gspurning had 11 clean sheets in 33 appearances. In terms of appearances, the Sounders usually lined up as follows:

1          GK      Gspurning

2          RB       Yedlin

34        CB       Hurtado

19        CB       Traoré

12        LB       González

6          DM      Alonso

10        RM      Rosales

3          AM      Evans

27        LM      Neagle

7          SS        Johnson

9          CF       Martins

 

(image courtesy of Colours of Football)

Seattle’s official colors are Sounder Blue, Rave Green, and Cascade Shale and adidas introduced a Cascade Shale away shirt in 2011. Seeing the shirt in an official Sounder store during my trip to Seattle, I was intrigued by the design, with the Cascade Shale base trimmed in Rave Green and highlighted by the silver Powerweb bands which was a feature of adidas’ Techfit kits at the time.

(image courtesy of Colours of Football)

For the 2013 season, adidas used the same Cascade Shale background and Rave Green was used for the adidas branding on shirt and shorts and to outline the chest. The key design feature was a vertical two tone bar of Sounder Blue and Rave Green. Per the club’s official release:

The secondary kit continues in cascade shale with the addition of a two inch vertical stripe which connects team colors through a mosaic design to emphasize the team’s unique and diverse fan base.

One thing that Seattle Sounders blog Sounders at Heart mentioned was  

this feature is vastly different in the “replica” kits being sold through the team store; only green is present in those versions.

Images on the internet were inconclusive, plus I couldn’t find it on Classic Football Shirts or even on eBay. Is that weird? Anyway, I really like this look and saw a fan wearing the shirt at the Terminus Legion MLS Cup 2016 Watch Party. I complimented him on his jersey,  and I’m hoping the club return to this color scheme in the near future, staying away from Super Cyan, Electric Yellow and Pacific Blue.

What do you think of the shirt? What are your favorite MLS shirts of all time? Let me know if the comments below.

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Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.

Major League Soccer (MLS) Acronyms

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The 2017 Major League Soccer season continues a pattern of slow, steady growth for the league. As the league evolves, leadership has created and shaped the rules that govern the league. Here’s a quick recap so that you are ready for the upcoming season.

GAM General Allocation Money. A mechanism created by MLS to help teams improve their rosters by reducing hits to the salary cap or acquire players by signing or transfer. Dirty South Soccer breaks it down here.

CAM Center Attacking Mid, your team’s #10, your team’s most creative player. . . unless you’re the Montreal Impact and you put him on the left.

W(H)AM George Michael tribute patch to be worn for the 2017 MLS season at the edge of the hem opposite of the jock tag.

whamSAM Sick Ass Move, like some of these.

TAM Targeted Allocation Money. A mechanism created by MLS to help teams improve their rosters below the Designated Player level or reducing the DP hits to the salary cap. Dirty South Soccer breaks it down here.

DAM(N) son. When Giovinco does THIS to your team.

PAM Pissed Away Allocation Money. Pretty much any money spent on Branco, Lothar Matthäus, Shaun Maloney, and Rais Mbolhi. Feel free to insert your team’s horrible transfer below.

lothar-mattheusFAM As in the family discount against the salary cap that can be invoked when a coach’s son plays for the team. This fictional mechanism hasn’t been used since Michael Bradley played for his father Bob with the MetroStars but GMs around the league are keeping an eye on a possible John/Ian Harkes option in the near future.

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LAM Another term for the invisibility cloak, as in on the lam, as in the player is not impacting the game at all. See Alejandro Bedoya in most USMNT games.

BAM Beating down your opponent. You know like the Red Bulls against NYCFC last season or the Chicago Fire crushing the Kansas City Wizards 7-0 in 2001 or the LA Galaxy destroying the Dallas Burn 8-1 in 1998.

(no) MA(‘A)M That moment when your goalie saves your team like Stefan Frei in MLS Cup 2016 or pretty much any PK taken against Nick Rimando.

IAM I am the best player in league history. Love him or hate him, it’s LandyCakes.

CARSON, CA - December 1, 2012: LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan (10) celebrating their victory after the LA Galaxy vs the Houston Dynamo for the 2012 MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Final score LA Galaxy 3, Houston Dynamo 1.

Would love to hear comments and ideas from MLS fans below.

Follow me on twitter @AustinLong1974 and check out the rest of the SoccerNomad blog for posts on kits, memories and more. And don’t forget the SoccerNomad podcast, which features Atlanta Supporter Groups, kit design and more

Scarf Collection

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I’ve become a groundhopper, not to the extent of Paul Gerald or Peter Miles or Tony Incenzo, but I take pics, talk to people and write posts about teams, supporters and venues in the United States. But what about swag? As a big kit nerd, the obvious choice would be to get a shirt at each match, but that strategy has a couple of problems: 1) not every team has a merch store or even jerseys for sale; 2) at $55 to $100 a pop, a one stop/one shirt policy could get pricey; and 3) where would I put them all? I don’t have a mancave (yet) and as much as I would love to wear a different jersey every day, society and my workplace frown upon that.

So my solution has been to pick up a scarf at each game I attend. This strategy has paid off in several ways. Scarves are almost always available at games, and if not, readily available on club websites. Plus at $25 to $35 each, this is the better option financially. On top of that, scarves are packable and easy to display.

Here is my current collection:

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Favorite Teams

Manchester United–The club team I have been supporting for 20 years. One day I will make it to Old Trafford. C’mon you Reds!!

US Soccer–I have seen several US games over the years , and I continuing to engage my own country instead of wishing I was Croatian or Dutch or almost anything else.

Atlanta United–MLS club kicking off in 2017. I’m a season ticket holder and can’t wait for the team to launch and play their first game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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Groundhops

Seattle Sounders–One of my first trips and had an awesome time.

Chicago Fire–Used to watch them at Soldier Field. Saw the new home out in the middle of nowhere.

Portland TimbersStood with Timbers Army in a very unique environment.

Columbus CrewSaw one of the first games at this Soccer Specific Stadium and have been several times since.

FC DallasAnother facility out in the middle of nowhere but Dallas Beer Guardians more than made up for it.

DC UnitedGot to see DC United at RFK before they move to the new ground.

Houston DynamoAmazing venue and hopefully the team returns it past glory.

Atlanta Silverbacks–Former NASL team playing in NPSL, I have been to many games and worked for the Reserves team.

Charleston Battery–Fantastic USL team with great supporters playing an intimate venue filled with soccer memorabilia.

Lansing United–The club launched the summer before I left Lansing and is doing things right on and off the pitch.

Detroit City FC–My first taste of real supporter culture. It has been wonderful keeping an eye on this team from the first days.

Nashville FC–Vanderbilt Stadium wasn’t the greatest venue but wonderful fans.

Chattanooga FC–Love going up to Chattanooga. Real passion behind a successful NPSL club.

Birmingham Hammers–Met some fired up supporters for the Hammers’ first season. Looking forward to going back.

Georgia Revolution–Under new ownership, this club is providing players a stepping stone to next level.

Knoxville Force (Scruffy City Syndicate)–Growing club with ardent supporters, playing right in downtown Knoxville.

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Miscellaneous

Juventus–Fell in love with Alessandro Del Piero and followed the bianconeri until I decided to focus my soccer supporting efforts.

MSU Spartans–Went to many a game at DeMartin Stadium during my time in Lansing.

World Cup 2022–My wife won this in a raffle. It’s the scarf from the US 2022 World Cup bid.

American Outlaws Atlanta. I love hanging out with these passionate supporters of US Soccer.

Terminus Legion 2015–Joined this Supporter Group at the intersection of Atlanta and Soccer in 2015 after moving to Atlanta in 2014.

Terminus Legion 2016–Re-upped and run the soccer team and host the Terminus Legion podcast.

The General–Special edition summer scarf produced by Terminus Legion to celebrate the history of Atlanta.

Soccer in the Streets–An amazing organization that brings soccer to underserved youth in Atlanta. Just launched Station Soccer, a pitch on top of a transit station.

Castleberry Hill AC–An organization looking to use soccer to improve their community. Currently trying to build Old Trenholm in the shadow of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

 

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Top three scarves I have come across. . .

fire-scarf

I usually buy the team scarf at each match but when I was at the Chicago Fire tailgate, I saw people walking around this scarf and knew that I had to have it. The scarf tweaks the Chicago city flag, using navy blue bands to frame the edges instead of the sky blue and then uses the four red stars through the middle. Great looking piece.

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While standing with Timbers Army, I spotted a Battlestar Portlandia. Having just come out of my Battlestar Galactica geek phase, I really loved the merging of pop culture and sport. Doubt I will ever get my hands but one of these but a really slick design.

dcfc-scarf

A scarf from Detroit City FC’s inaugural season is one of my favorite scarves. All the design elements come together, with of color scheme of rouge and dark yellow, a clean font and the argyle print adding a wonderful touch. DCFC has absolutely crushed it from a brand and merch perspective from day one.

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If you want to see a real scarf collection, visit Kenny’s Football Scarves. He has over 2000 pieces organized by league and region.

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Read more about my groundhops and supporter group interactions at the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast, which focuses on Supporter Groups and kit design. Finally follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Guest Post: JR Francis on Atlanta United 2017 Home Kit

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It’s… fine.

The best assessment I’ve heard of the kit goes like this, “Its exactly what you thought it was going to be.” In many ways, this is a good thing, but when it comes right down to it, there is simply nothing, design-wise, to get excited about.

It is thrilling to HAVE a kit now. A coach, many players, a world-class training facility and a soccer specific stadium on its way for the coming season. These are all things for the fans to celebrate and get excited about. The team we have all been waiting for is coming, and with each passing landmark, actual games are creeping closer and closer.

We are incredibly lucky that the team was able to partner with a company that allowed their logo to be rendered in gold. So many teams around the world have their kits ruined by a terrible sponsor logo, a clashing color, or by having to sport a pyramid scheme across their chest. We have a respectable company, with heartfelt commercials. They have a simple, clean, horizontal version of their logo, and it’s in beautiful gold across the front. Three cheers to American Family for being a great partner.shirt

But overall, it’s a vertical striped kit.

My complaints are really just nitpicks and some are even more about Adidas templates than this particular design. It’s a red shirt. Bah. I’m in the camp for minimizing red, and using it as a pin stripe or highlight. Think how Philly uses baby blue. I was really hoping for a black base with red stripes, as this would provide the richness and severity of aggression. Red is an entirely overused color in sport to the point of being cheap. The collar is just a plain black ringer with a sewn V-neck treatment; no stripes, lines, no work-friendly golf collar.

The stripes, as one likely could have predicted, are simple. Thick black, thick red, clean edges, no pin stripes, no texture within the stripe, no design along the edges. I’m assuming we will get all of those additional features in future years, as they are required to update a jersey every year.

The plain red back is bad. It looks like two different shirts were sewn together, one striped, one plain. There have certainly been some awful back treatments on striped designs, but to not even try is a fail. The widest two black stripes could have been run down the back, leaving room for the numbers. The stripes could terminate above and continue below the number. Something. At least the back got a jock tag with the cool 2017 logo from one of the first t-shirt designs.

The Adidas stripes stopping at the sleeve hem is wonky. I would have preferred it having a gap for the MLS logo, and going all the way down the sleeve. The MLS logos and badge in their plastisized, textured style on the authentic are really nice and the only spot we’ve added much of any personality.

The jersey is fine. It looks nice. I will scream at the top of my lungs for the guys wearing it. But it certainly ain’t “lit” or “fire” or anything of the like. Its’ simple, clean, and good.

More than anything else, this jersey reminds me of how bad the name is and how much I despise red and black. We will never be the Oregon Ducks of MLS, we will never have a huge stylistic play, we will never be the boldest or most distinctive design in the store. It can certainly be argued that classic and plain are a good thing and we don’t want to look wild and crazy. But it certainly isn’t an option. And our name SO means absolutely nothing to anyone. In a city full of incredible history, we certainly cheaped out and picked a name with zero visualization.

Here is looking forward to seeing what the away brings. I’m hoping for zero white on it at all, like the majority of ATL UTD marketing. My fingers are crossed for a real collared shirt and LOTS of gold!

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JR is a frequent guest on the SoccerNomad podcast and you can follow him on twitter @paynomind.

Atlanta United 2017 Home Kit

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Atlanta United unveiled their 2017 home kit last night in a big celebration at the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta. Susannah Collins from MLS emceed the event, which included Arthur Blank, Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra, and Mayor Kasim Reed.

Recently I became a season ticket holder and an email hit my inbox last week about an upcoming event: the unveiling of Atlanta United’s inaugural home kit. This has been one of the most talked items about the team since the announcement. Once the logo and color scheme were released, fans and designers have been posting concept kits and discussing possible looks. I was honored to be part of the Design Football.com Atlanta United concept kit contest and fans from all over the world came up with some really great designs. On top of that, Dirty South Soccer has been accumulating designs and has made it a big topic on the Mouths of the South podcast.

The general consensus was that the shirt would be similar to the AC Milan home shirt and their iconic black and red vertical stripes. After that, speculation focused on all the permutations: thickness of the stripes, striped or solid sleeves, collar/no collar, solid or striped back, trim and accent color, and finally the placement of the trademarked three Adidas stripes.

Speaking of Adidas, ahead of Euro 2016, the company made a major design change, moving their three stripes from the shoulder to the torso. Adidas has a contract with MLS through 2017 and most of the kits released for the 2016 season incorporated this change, so I wondered. . . 1) where would the stripes be and b) what color would they be?unveil

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After a series of speeches and cheering, Tito Villlaba, Chris McCann and Andrew Carleton stepped forward in the new strip.

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I loved it. Five broad stripes with gold Adidas striping on the shoulders. I would have preferred the mark on the torso but I’m over it. Two things really grabbed me: the red sleeves and the crest. Most mock ups had striped or black sleeves. The red lightens the tone of the kit and this really works for me. The A, which is the focal point of the crest, has texture on the authentic shirt, created by a series of diagonal lines. Close up the logo really jumps out and this is a wonderful feature. Another feature of the authentic shirt is the cuff, which has Atlanta United on it. Something to keep in mind when deciding between authentic and replica.

american-family-insurance-logo

Finally, American Family Insurance altered their logo to gold to complement the shirt. Had they kept their standard branding, the shirt could have gone sideways very quickly.

For everything on the kit, check out these resources:

I pre-ordered my shirt ahead of the event. Didn’t even need to see it. This is the first shirt ever for the club so that in itself made it worth having. Plus I didn’t want to stand in line. (I admit I was jealous of those that wait in line and were able to walk out of the event with the shirt on.)

To wrap up, I asked some Atlanta United fans their thoughts and here’s what they had to say.

Heather McBrayer Cooke After some reflection, I think it’s fine. Not great, but fine. I’m never a fan of the broad vertical stripes but I do absolutely love the black shorts with the gold stripes. The detail on the back is a very nice touch as well. I honestly think the unveiling was so stinking dramatic that it set you up for a let down.

Robyn Saghini ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ it!

Jorge E. Alonso 200% on board. Absolutely love it. And it looks beautiful with our (Terminus Legion) scarf on it.

Cristoforo Romano Classy!

Justin Koehn Not too shabby. I like it untucked much more for some reason with the solid black shorts. Not a huge fan of the solid color back, but overall I’d say i’m happy with it.

Charles Phillips It’s exactly what we expected, but it’s executed perfectly. I like the broad bars as opposed to thinner stripes. I also think the red field on the back in place of stripes is going to look great with the number sets. The Inaugural Season flair on the back of the neck is a great touch that’ll make this particular shirt special. Part of me was hoping for the new Adidas style stripes down the torso, but the shoulder stripes work great too. I would’ve preferred some accents or design on the socks, but I can appreciate them going clean and elegant.

Kelly Carter Love it. Prices are fair and comparable to the league. Design was expected but desired. Sizing runs small for authentic per usual. I’m glad the AmFam logo isn’t bigger like other sponsors in the league. Yes, it does look quite similar to the MetroStars jersey, but that was bound to happen given the color scheme.

Jon Hicks Pretty damn cool. I concur with Charles the Adidas strips down the torso would have been awesome but I can live without it. The inaugural season on the back is killer. 

Matheus Gonçalves Some might say the kit is kind of too basic, or that Atlanta United stayed in the comfort zone and haven’t been innovative or creative enough. I understand the point but we’re not talking about Apple, Microsoft, Google that needs to innovate and be disruptive or, you know… this is a soccer team kit. Maybe, for the future, or for the 3rd kit we could have some fading lines down the torso, or some different design but still the Atlanta United kit is classy, It’s sharp, the golden and black stripes are solid and the kit is awesome, I love it.

Andy Hollums I love it! Executed perfectly. And in really glad they went solid on back. The only thing I don’t like about Montreal’s shirt is that they have short stripes at the bottom on back. I’m really glad we didn’t do that.

Charlie Flint I think it’s safe and relatively what everyone expected – but a great design and looks good!

Jen Pahl I really like it. It is sharp and we will stand out on the pitch.

 

Let me know your thoughts below. You can follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and make sure to check out the rest of the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast on podomatic or on iTunes, just search SoccerNomad. I appreciate all feedback, so please leave a rating and review.

Flying Beers!!

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In the summer of 2012, I started a project to visit all MLS venues. Washington DC was a must as RFK is literally crumbling and I wanted to see this historic stadium before it fell down and/or gives way to the Buzzard Point site in a couple of years.

The venue opened in late 1961 as the District of Columbia Stadium (renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969), and it has hosted numerous teams and sporting events. The circular design was the result of its intention to be used as a multi-purpose stadium for American football and baseball.

In my posts on early DC United kits (original kit and 1997 third shirt), I state that this was my club only because of the uniforms. I eventually lost touch with the league due to quality (or lack thereof) and presentation (empty stadiums marked with American football lines). What I missed was this original MLS franchise becoming one of the most successful teams in the 20+ years of the league. Four MLS Cups, four Supporters’ Shields, three US Open Cups, a CONCACAF Champions League and even a Copa Interamericana win.

Recent years have been a mixed bag. Since bottoming out in 2013, the team has returned to being a playoff contender, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2014 and making the playoffs last year. This season has been a struggle as long serving coach Ben Olsen has continued to reshape the team, with Jairo Arrieta, Davy Arnaud, Fabian Espindola, Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen leaving and Lamar Neagle, Patrick Nyarko, Julian Büscher, Marcelo Sarvas Luciano Acosta, Rob Vincent, Alhaji Kamara, Lloyd Sam, Patrick Mullins and Kennedy Igboananike coming in.

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The game against Orlando saw the Black and Red below the red line and making a push for the playoffs. On the METRO, we met a family headed to the game. They talked about the team, the new venue and the big crowd expected due to the recognition of the Armed Forces and DC school children. Most importantly, they got us exactly where we needed to be. Walking up to the RFK I thought about all those years watching NFL Today and Cowboys/Redskins games and the 1994 World Cup and DC United and United States games from years gone by.

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Once inside I was surprised by how good our seats were. Only several feet from the touchline, we were several rows up which gave us a great vantage point to watch the match. DC United has three main supporter groups. I couldn’t get into the Screaming Eagles Supporters Section but got the section just next to them. One plus was that our seats allowed us to get a taste of the atmosphere of the Eagles and the District Ultras. Both groups did a great job of support with songs and noise and flags. (Didn’t make it over to Barra Brava). The feeling of the stands rising and falling is one of my great sporting memories. Must be experienced.

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Screaming Eagles

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District Ultras

What a match. Both teams had chances early before Patrick Mullins (transferred from NYCFC in the summer) scored just after the half hour mark. DC United took control off the match after halftime with two goals in three minutes from Sam and Mullins. Sam’s goal was fantastic as he headed a cross down and away from Bendik and it happened right in front of us. The Beast pulled one back with a tremendous free kick before Buscher finished off a wonderful night for the Red and Black with some nifty footwork. With the Screaming Eagles tradition of throwing beers in the after goals, let’s just say no one went home dry.

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For the Lions, had to be a disappointing defeat. Looks like the playoffs will elude them again. I did get to see Kaka play for about an hour and was surprised by how big he was. Tall, strong and a great touch. Larin was impressive as well with his size and speed. Didn’t get much service and was subbed in the second half as well. His performance didn’t really help my fantasy team so #sadface. Nocerino got sent off after a brief appearance. About all he did in was foul people. A decent sized crowd of Orlando City fans were in an upper level behind a goal. Has to be a long trip back to Florida.

The result saw the Black and Red get back over the red line in sixth place, one point ahead of the Revolution with a game in hand and three points ahead of the Lions, with both teams having played 30 matches. The Lions are a direct rival and the two teams will meet on the final day of the season. The rest of DC United’s schedule looks like this

September 28      D.C. United            v              Columbus Crew

October 1              Toronto FC            v              D.C. United

October 16           D.C. United            v              New York City FC

October 23           Orlando City          v              D.C. United

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As a kit nerd, have to mention the unis. DC United uniforms are not flashy but they looked great. All black with red adidias stripes down side, a series of very subtle black horizontal black stripes and of course their new badge (not a big fan). The exterior neck tape depicts D.C. monuments (Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington Memorials and the National Capitol) and is a nice touch.

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Before the match, they were passing out a promotional shirt that tied in to the Armed Forces appreciation Basically a t-shirt with dark digital camo, it looked pretty cool, and it was neat seeing METRO cars filled with people wearing the shirt after the match. As is tradition, I picked up a scarf,  which had a light camo pattern and a very different in design than ones from my previous trips.

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I got to see the Orlando City away kit in the flesh and it looked fantastic. The new shirt is sharp, with a white main section and purple sleeves. Purple is also used around the collar and for the adidas stripes down the side. The cuffs are trimmed in gold which is a nice touch. This is one my favorite releases for the 2016 season.

Shameless plug alert!! I was on the Design Football pod ahead of the 2016 campaign to talk MLS kits. Listen here.

All in all, a wonderful night in the nation’s capital. While the venue could definitely use a paint job, I didn’t get hit by falling concrete or get bitten by raccoons. Perfect temperature, raucous support and a big result for the home team.

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Special thanks to Screaming Eagles.

Read more about my MLS trips here.