Ranking the MLS Crests: the Top 10

Yesterday, with the recent release of Orlando City’s new crest, I decided to take a stab at ranking Major League Soccer’s 21 logos. I ranked the bottom half yesterday, culminating in the not-very-shocking decision to crown the New England Revolution’s crest worst in the league. Today, a more positive note, as I look at the league’s 10 best crests. Note that I am nitpicking here; none of these are bad crests, but some are better than others. MLS has come quite some way from the graphic design fads of the late 1990s (see right), but who has the best crest of them all?

10. Toronto FC

This was one of the league’s best crests when TFC began play in 2007, but it’s fallen some as the league’s graphic design has improved. There’s little need for this to feature two different shades of gray in addition to white, and while the maple leaf was a nice touch for the league’s first Canadian team, perhaps it’s unnecessary now that two more exist.

9.  LA Galaxy

It’s fitting that LA chose to redesign their crest and kits in 2007. That summer, David Beckham joined the team, and their current imagery reminds me of Real Madrid. It’s all very clean, with all-white kits, and, in the past at least, the league’s biggest stars. This crest is in line with that; it’s clean and simple, with some subtle beveling and shadowing that strikes me as an odd touch.

8. Montreal Impact

This has a lot in common with Sporting Kansas City’s crest, except I actually like it. The fleur-de-lis is evocative of French Canada, with the four stars representing the original settlers of Montreal. The wordmark cleverly divides the shield, and the black and blue stripes come straight from their kit. Montreal is the only club to feature a motto on its crest: “Tous Pour Gagner” means “All to Win” in French.

7. Vancouver Whitecaps

This was lower when I started ranking, but it kept climbing up. It’s probably the only crest with that shape in the world, and the “VW” in the “reflection” of the upper half’s mountains is an incredibly clever touch. Vancouver is surrounded by mountains and water, and this crest does a great job of bringing out both. This is Canada’s best.

6. DC United

Consider this one of the rare things the ’90s got right. This crest appeared in 1998, and marked a decent-sized improvement on the  worn during the club’s first two years. The colors pop, the eagle is distinctive, and it has a very good shape to it. DC was the first MLS team to really “get” soccer culture, and they’ve fallen on tough times now that other teams have gained an understanding. But the crest remains timeless.

5. Seattle Sounders FC

Is it just me, or might this work better without the blue collar around the green shied? Regardless, it’s a very solid crest. and you don’t need the wordmark to know that this is a Seattle team.

4. FC Dallas

There’s a great use of space on this shield, with the bull essentially dividing it into thirds. The livestock and lone star scream Texas , while the flame and “96” recall the club’s history. Of the MLS clubs who re-hauled their original identities, Dallas did it best.

3. New York City FC 

NYCFC hasn’t been successful in selling season ticket deposits, but it’s not for a lack of marketing. Judging by social media, the club has been plastering this crest all over the city. And it’s a damn nice crest if you ask me. There were a lot of fan made ideas for the crest in anticipation of the team’s unveiling, but none were particularly better than this. The subway token homage is distinctly New York, and the addition of orange was a nice touch.

2. Real Salt Lake

It’s not a great name, but 10 years on, RSL has grown into the Real moniker, and there’s no desire or need to change it. This is a simple, clean crest, and an improvement on the club’s original shield. If the team is going to be named Real Salt Lake, this is the best crest possible.

1. Chicago Fire

It’s from 1998, and it hasn’t been changed since, because it’s a damn good crest. This was one of only two shield-style crests in the league at the time, but it still stands out because it’s a unique shield, taken from the city’s fire department. The six points on the circle in the center represent the six-pointed stars on Chicago’s flag. I hope whoever designed this was given a raise.

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2 thoughts on “Ranking the MLS Crests: the Top 10

  1. Pingback: The New MLS Crest | Clever Through Balls
  2. Pingback: Authenticity | Clever Through Balls

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