MLS and Adidas have chosen to honor the leagues 25th season in a truly magical way: requiring an awkward three striped shoulder on a chunky, somewhat throwback kit for every teams. From what has leaked so far, there doesn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason for which teams are using it for their home vs away kit. If you have a breakdown of production schedules and practical reasons why, feel free to pat yourself on the back. FC Cincinnati was blessed to have their chunky monkey be the home kit. From what we’ve heard, we are only stuck with it for a single season; the charming away kit, on the other hand, remaining for the next two.

Our best look at the template (any for the purpose of this post, template is not referring to any of the graphical design elements) has come from pictures of Chicharito in the new LA Galaxy kit. The first thing to catch my eyes were the cuffs:

Duct tape width, thick and obscene. In the modern era of quick, lightweight kits designed to move, I find it odd Adidas would put cuffed pants on the end of short sleeves. I hate to use such a lazy descriptor, but they look stupid. Luckily for LAG, from a distance, the white should blend together and not be so distracting. For FCC, no such luck…

Shown without migrant slave holding sponsorship

The next throwback element is the collar. You will hear people say they like it, and tell you it’s good. These people are lying. Remember that. They are liars. In my opinion, the collar on a soccer kit is THE make or break aspect when it comes to whether I will wear it. The replica kit could prove to be a better buy if it features a dumbed down version of this karate robe. From the NYRB kit that leaked however, we’re probably shucks outta luck on that front as well.  Rising to near mock turtleneck levels, I can’t see anyone enjoying this collar beyond Bertone and Kubo’s strangely stylish agent.

Going for his silver belt apparently.

The three shoulder stripes? I honestly don’t care either way. If the other kit elements were a home run, they would be an afterthought to me. When you add them all together, it’s part of a weird soup. The overall fit seems to be boxy and loose, also probably a throwback element. But all in all, none of the leaked kits feel throwbacky enough; landing in a strange purgatory of design. There is always a market for throwback kits, including those old bright and weird MLS kits. Hedging on the design means limiting the market to the people who are buying their teams regardless.

This leaked mock up is more or less accurate from what we’ve heard. The teasing of colors by FCC means the very dark blue on the right isn’t as close to black, and the royal appears to be more navy. But the middle split and orange cuffs and collar are supposedly locked in.  What are we to make of the split? I don’t know man, it’s pretty strange. The chunky orange cuffs could end up very clownish, but I’ll wait to see it in the flesh. There’s not really a thing I find redeeming, or likable about the kit. I feel blessed to have a nice away kit this year that goes behind the Hanes 5-pack template. So why is the kit perfect, you ask? Well if you didn’t notice, it quite clearly says “CINCINNATI” on the chest. It’s perfect.