MLS Teams Unveil Alternate Jerseys; Player Poll Gives Sounders Best Stadium Atmosphere
Several MLS teams are unveiling new uniforms this week in advance of the start of the season on Saturday, and the Rapids on Monday revealed an "'alternate" jersey that incorporates the "red, blue and yellow of the Colorado flag," according to Eric Gorski of the DENVER POST. The new jersey will be worn for "most road games -- breaking with its signature burgundy" shirt. Rapids President Tim Hinchey "makes a point of calling it an 'alternate' jersey rather than an away jersey." He had to sell MLS and jersey manufacturer adidas "on the idea that soccer is unique, and that home and away jerseys need not always be dark and light, respectively, as they are in nearly every American sport." He said that of the club’s 17 away games, the alternate jersey will "probably appear 12 or more times." There is "no white road version of the burgundy home jersey, which this year will feature the names of about 1,700 season ticket holders in tiny black type aligned in faint stripes on the jersey front and back" (DENVERPOST.com, 2/25). In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald noted the Union yesterday "finally unveiled their new third jersey," and the black, white and red color scheme is a "tribute to Bethlehem Steel, the famed club from the 1910's and 1920's that won five U.S. Open Cups." The jersey's Bimbo Bakeries logo "is an old one, to fit with the throwback motif" (PHILLY.com, 2/26). In Houston, Reid Laymance noted the biggest difference on the Dynamo jersey, which was unveiled Monday, was "no sponsor name across the middle." More "subtle changes included a Texas flag at the bottom and the team's 'Forever Orange' slogan on the upper-left hand side." The back-neck tape design is "based on the shape of the BBVA Compass Stadium" (CHRON.com, 2/25).
HEADING TO THE POLLS: SI.com's Grant Wahl conducted a preseason player poll and asked which MLS stadium had the best atmosphere. The Sounders' Qwest Field led with nine votes, followed in second by the Timbers' Jeld-Wen Field, with eight votes. Wahl wrote, "No surprise at all here. The only question was going to be which Pacific Northwest team edged out the other. Seattle has bigger numbers (more than 43,000 fans per game), while Portland may have an even harder core." He also asked which stadium had the worst atmosphere. FC Dallas Stadium led with six votes, followed by Gillette Stadium (Revolution) with four, and The Home Depot Center (Chivas USA), Columbus Crew Stadium and RFK Stadium (DC United), which each garnered two votes. Wahl: "Dallas has clearly not taken advantage of having its own soccer stadium for the team. New England has also gone stagnant from an atmosphere perspective. ... The Revolution crowd seemed more festive back in the earlier days of the league" (SI.com, 2/26).