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Ranking every MLS logo from worst to best

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Waking the Red’s definitive #take on the badge of every club in the league.

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On the final Sunday before the 2017 MLS season begins, let’s have a little fun.

Below are my rankings for all 23 (including LAFC) logos in the league, from worst to best. I have no design background and they are based on nothing but my own preferences, so feel free to tear into my choices in the comments.

Note: I highly recommend reading this on a mobile device. The logos are really big on desktop.


23. Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City logo MLS

Looks like someone has enlarged it without holding down the shift key. The font is an awful, stretched horror show and there’s nothing going on below to redeem it, with the stripes and SC leeches adding very little. They have altered the colour scheme a couple of times on their kits and it has looked slightly better, but there’s really no excuse for this given the nice palette of blues they have to work with.


22. Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire logo MLS

Who put out the Calgary Flame? I get that this is supposed to reflect the actual logo of the Chicago Fire Department, but a cursory browse of the service’s Wikipedia page suggests even they’ve since ditched the cross. The shape just doesn’t work and given that foundation already existed, whoever designed this has not exactly done much.


21. Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo logo MLS

I have a feeling this one might split opinion, but I’m not feeling it at all. ‘Dynamo’ is a bit of a difficult name to work around and given that it was meant to represent the city’s energy, it is perhaps not surprising that the result is an explosion of contrasting colours. The triple border is way too thick and an example of trying to fit a few too many nods into one logo - the colours actually might have potential on something a lot more simple.


20. New England Revolution

New England Revolution logo MLS

The kind of thing you’d see on some dull U.S. Soccer initiative. It would be passable as a secondary logo or a little feature on the back of the neck of the jersey, but offers absolutely no association to the club it represents to anyone outside MLS.


19. LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy logo MLS

Badly in need of an update. This sounds oxymoronic, but they could keep the same design while simultaneously changing everything about it; the fonts need improving, the shape of the shield should be altered and the colours could do with being refined, but the basic outline won’t actually be that different. With LAFC on the scene (more on them later), they should get on with it.


18. Montreal Impact

Montreal Impact logo MLS

Much like the Galaxy, really - it’s not offensively bad, but they could do a lot better. The frustration with Montreal - and this goes for their jerseys, too - is that they have so much nice symbology to draw upon and don’t always make best use of it. Fiorentina’s badge, also centred around the fleur-de-lis, might provide some inspiration.


17. Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders logo MLS

We’re well clear of the ‘glaringly bad’ bin but mired deep in mediocrity now. Seattle’s badge is sharper than Montreal and Los Angeles’, but it’s an odd construction with the three layers and unusual shape and is the kind of thing you’d see on a space-themed Disney ride. It also doesn’t lend itself particularly well to appearing on stuff other than the jersey itself, and even there it’s a bit too tall and pointy.


16. Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers logo MLS

Points for simplicity, and for the fact that the ‘T’ axe is very versatile and provides a strong, immediately recognisable symbol. But I’m not quite ready to embrace the Juventus single-letter approach to football badges yet and the logo in full doesn’t do a lot for me.


15. San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose Earthquakes logo MLS

Everyone likes a throwback and this is definitely an improvement on their previous effort, but I think the Quakes have gone slightly too far back in time here. The old football, the basic font... it all looks a little bit too 1974, and the kind of thing you’d see on a one-off commemorative jersey rather than actually adopted full-time.


14. Orlando City

Orlando City logo MLS

There’s room for improvement, but it looks reasonable on the jersey and the lion is a clear symbol of the club. Could be revisited in a few years for an alteration or two but it’s not a over-the-top first effort that they’re going to have to tear up when they decide they want something new.


13. New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls logo MLS

OK, it’s the logo of a big drinks company but big drinks companies have good creative teams, and if you can put the corporate contamination to one side for a moment it’s not a bad design. The downside is that there’s no way to get rid of the ‘Red Bull’ on more text-based logos for merchandise while keeping the actual identity of the club recognizable. RB Leipzig have a better deal due to the Bundesliga’s refusal to allow anything Red Bull to appear anywhere on the jerseys or badge.


12. Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake logo MLS

I struggle to make my mind up on this - one moment I love it, the next I think they should adapt it into a secondary logo. It’s a classy design that makes good use of colours that might not always work together, but loses marks for the fact that you’d probably guess it came from the Spanish second division rather than Salt Lake City.


11. FC Dallas

FC Dallas logo MLS

Could be tweaked and refined, but is in less need of it than the likes of Seattle and Portland. The colour scheme, bull and lone star combine to feel much more Texan than the Dynamo, and the only thing I don’t really like is the font for the ‘96’.

10. Toronto FC

Toronto FC logo MLS

Much like Dallas, I think TFC may be tempted to review this in the coming years but don’t have as desperate a need to do so as other clubs. It’s not as busy as it was at risk of being with all those panels, and the red-and-onyx colour scheme doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. We know the Reds put a lot of emphasis on their design and marketing these days, though, and I could see them moving towards the standalone big T in the future, as they already have done on a lot of promotional material.


9. Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps logo MLS

Probably not going to win any design awards, but it’s clean, simple, well-coloured and nods to Vancouver the city. A better version of Orlando’s logo - a perfectly acceptable first effort from an expansion team with potential to be developed in the future.


8. Atlanta United

Atlanta United logo MLS

This is pretty much spot on except the big ‘A’, which does its best to sink the whole design. I guess they were trying to add a bit of depth by embossing it but that hasn’t worked, and while the dark gold looks fine in small letters on black, it’s pretty ugly when blown up like that.


7. Minnesota United

Minnesota United logo MLS

A lot of people love this, and I can see why - it’s different and original but done in a classy way, the loon is really cool and the colour scheme Minnesota have adopted is strong, too. I’m going to be really picky, though - something about the text is bothering me. Maybe put it outside the shield? I don’t know.


6. Colorado Rapids

Colorado Rapids logo MLS

It would be very difficult to screw this colour scheme up, and they haven’t. Great shape, good font choice, the mountain is a nice local touch and everything just blends together nicely. A strong, strong effort that has held up really well having been part of their image change in 2007.


5. Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union logo MLS

Some don’t like the colour scheme, but this hits all the right notes for me - the fonts are great, there’s a symbol for the city, I personally like the colour combinations and it just looks like a football crest. They’ve not overcrowded the space but it’s not too minimalist at the same time.


4. Los Angeles FC

LAFC logo MLS

Everything I said about Philadelphia applies here but the black and gold is an even classier look. The font and the angel’s wing and everything about it is just very LA, and much like NYCFC they’d be smart to seize on the local opportunity presented by the fact their city rival’s branding is very corporate.

3. D.C. United

D.C. United logo MLS

The good ones pretty much hit all the same notes; good colours, clean font choice, one defining symbol and lack of weird shadowing and ill-conceived attempts to create depth. D.C. rolled this out in 2015 and rather than attempting anything too drastic, they simply created a more modern, simple version of their existing look.


2. New York City FC

New York City logo MLS

Points for getting ‘Football Club’ in there, which not many clubs do nowadays but Manchester City are keen on because United got some criticism for taking it out of their badge. Nice colours once again and for some reason I really love the bolts as a small New York City touch.


1. Columbus Crew SC

Columbus Crew logo MLS

A massive upgrade on their previous efforts. Instead of making another desperate attempt to incorporate the (men-only) ‘crew’ they finally made a clean break and are much the better for it. After having one of the most noticeable - albeit awful - symbols in MLS, they now have none at all on the logo - and that’s OK, with their eyecatching colours identifiable enough.