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Coffee with the Caps, Monday April 22

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Saturday sucked so lets talk about jerseys

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Stuffed full of holiday fare, I’m sadly back at work this Monday morning rather than off hunting for Easter eggs. What better way to cope than Coffee with the Caps?

Let’s face it, Saturday’s match was not the result we wanted. Despite a fairly meh performance, losing at the last second always stings and this was no different.

But I’m going to save my ire for something much, much dumber than a lack of coherent offensive strategy or a total farce of a substitute performance from Joaquin Ardaiz. What is the target, then, of my frustration, you loyal readers may ask?

The jersey.

Yes, that’s right. I’m the only person on planet MLS who had a problem with the totally well intentioned idea (which started last season) to have every team where a jersey made out of plastic harvested from the ocean.

Now, the idea behind the jersey is quite nice. I’m all for MLS teams taking a stand on social issues (although I would prefer that my team first take a stronger stand on sexual assault and harrassment but that’s just me). But I have two chief problems with the parley kits.

First, I found it annoying being unable to differentiate what teams were playing whenever I tuned into an MLS match this weekend. Adidas elected to only make two jerseys, basically, and then proceeded to swap out the logos and sponsors based on which team they were making it for.

Now, as the road team, the Whitecaps were given a light colored kit which is not much different in color than other white/grey kits they’ve worn in the past. It was not horribly offensive to the eye, although I did not find it especially good looking either.

Instead, I found it annoying that Adidas put just enough effort into this project to make the plastic jerseys but not enough to come up with a unique color scheme for each team.

Indeed, this brings me to my second critique: Adidas, which has been unable to design for each team’s primary kits, was enlisted to create a whole set of jerseys. Again, the social issue is worth making a statement about. But rewarding the kit manufacturer with a new way to make money (these parley kits are on sale, for the bargain price of $89.99 in the MLS Store) when they can’t even come up with some creative designs for the home and road kits. I mean, my God have you seen the number of plain white jerseys this season.

The frustrating thing is there are no shortage of teams in the USL pyramid who have signed with smaller manufacturers who, admittedly less burdened by economies of scale, are able to do breathtaking, unique designs, that invoke the culture of each city. The parley kit idea could do be a similar breath of fresh air but instead looked kind of dumb. admittedly less

I understand the “old man yells at cloud” nature of this (as of yesterday, I’m 23 so I guess I’m old now?). My tongue is in my cheek to some degree on this. But in an ideal world, I’d like to see this parley kit thing be a more fleshed out campaign or Adidas devote more time to the primary kits for its clubs or both.

Like we could make the plastic kits thing into a whole weekend, with clubs and supporters groups organizing trash pickups around cities, making it into a league wide competition. I’m available for consulting work, MLS PR.

Although no kit, ever, can top the legendary Arbutus Brown tops. Trying to do so would be folly. And on that note, happy Earth Day everybody and let’s dive into the links, shall we?

Shameless Self Promotion

We have everything you need to know from a lackluster showing in Orlando. Yours truly has a rundown for those who may have missed the match. Jitsuo gives out the grades from that performance in the report card. And Caleb brings us up to date on allegations that the club covered up the sexual assault and harassment of players in its women’s program.

Best of the Rest

LAFC is good at soccer and their drubbing of Seattle made me feel pretty darn good about our victory in the midweek.

The latest AFTN podcast is out and I enjoyed its look at a turbulent week in Whitecaps world on my way into work. Listen here

A good tactical look at next week’s opponent, Philadelphia Union, from one of the best MLS writers in the game, Jonathan Tannewald of the Philly Inquirer

Its rare you’ll find soccer in the Arts section of the New York Times but this excellent story popped up on my radar yesterday.