MLS concept kits showcase

Over the last few weeks, the MLS and adidas have been on a blitz campaign of football shirt releases, dropping 20+ new shirts since the beginning of February. As with any MLS season, the shirts are largely hit and miss, ranging from the beautiful throwback design of LA Galaxy’s 2021 away shirt, to the minimal white jerseys that give the kit culture in the USA’s top league a bad name.

To celebrate this mass release of shirts from across the pond, today’s concept review is a bumper MLS edition, featuring four MLS concept kits.

There’s lots to look at, so let’s get into the designs! 

The Designs

New York Red Bulls by @mjp_concepts

We’re starting our tour of the States in the big city with the New York Red Bulls. Their insistence on sticking to the Red Bull Group colourway can be a limit on creativity, and so @mjp_concepts takes inspiration instead from the New York City skyline. 

Building from the base, the skyscrapers of New York are displayed in a block of red on the shirt, and followed up the shirt by darker reflected patterns of this image. Despite so much history in their home cities, MLS shirts can struggle to reflect this in their designs as a result of the league-wide manufacturer deal, but this concept certainly does not fall into that category!

Portland Timbers by @saintetixx

For our next concept, we’re heading across the country to the West Coast city of Portland, where the Timbers have been given a redesign in honour of their city’s women’s team. Portland Timbers tend to produce some of the better MLS shirts each year, with the dark green mixing nicely with golden highlights, but last season they were undoubtedly upstaged by the Portland Thorns.

The NWSL side dropped home and away shirts that featured rose and thorn patterns, living up to their name and club crest. This concept for their male counterparts from @saintetixx has an equally floral theme to its design, with pink roses adding colour to the dark shirt. Completed by an interesting collar design, this shirt proves that Portland is the place to be for quality shirt designs in 2021.

Houston Dynamo by @ac_dzn

After travelling coast to coast, it’s time to head south to Houston, Texas and visit another concept shirt inspired by its community. Given the general rule in MLS of having one dark and one light shirt, Houston Dynamo tend to counter their bright orange jersey with a dark blue or black away shirt. 

@ac_dzn’s concept gives us exactly that, adding a unique touch with the embossed ‘BE SOMEONE’ slogan fading up the shirt in a neon blue. The quote is a reference to a famous piece of graffiti on a Houston bridge, and as such is well known to the city’s commuters. It is also a great look at Dynamo’s rebranded club crest, but with the subtle addition of a neon blue font to match the ‘BE SOMEONE’ graffiti.

New York City FC by @ChenzoAr

To finish off we’re heading back to where we started, New York. This time, though, we’re visiting the city’s other team. New York City make no secret of their affiliation to Manchester City with their sky blue home shirts, but @ChenzoAr takes that one step further by kitting the team out in a concept inspired by Manchester City’s 2020/21 away shirt. 

The black shirt, with its rose gold highlights, is as intriguing on the MLS outfit as it is on their Manchester partners, but as with other concepts in this review, it is the subtle nods to the team’s home city that really make this shirt stand-out. 

On the shirt’s base we can see comic-style illustrations of the Statue of Liberty that mimics a famous painting by the legendary New York artist, Andy Warhol. The design is then topped-off with a torch jock-tag, finished in that stunning rose gold. 

Which shirt was your favourite?

Whether it’s the Red Bulls, Dynamo, the Timbers or NYCFC , we would love to see any of these MLS concept kits as real designs in2021. Let us know your favourite in the comments below! 

Or maybe we missed yours? Send us your favourite MLS concept kits for our future reviews!

Matt Leslie

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