2020 Kit Reveal: Western Conference

MLR released all of their 2020 kits on Friday. For my review on all the Eastern Conference kits click here. Now, on to the wild, wild, west.

Before I dive into each individual team, I really enjoy this conference’s look as a whole. The East was very locked into dark at home, and white on the road (except NOLA who flipped it for some reason). The Western Conference is a lot more colourful with 3 clubs not even featuring a white kit. I love colour vs colour kit matchups and it looks like we will see a lot of those in the west.

Austin Herd

Austin is going through a rebrand following the 2019 season. I suppose you can’t go 0-16 and call yourself “Elite”. Austin has undergone significant change in their organization this offseason. One of the biggest changes is a new name; the Herd. I’m a big fan of the name change. First, Herd as a nice Texas ring to it. Second, I love team nicknames that don’t end in “S”, but are still plural.

With the name change, the Herd also introduced a new logo. The bull is the same, but orange was removed from the colour scheme leaving just powder blue and black. To my surprise that logo does not appear on the kit anywhere. The black kit has a solid white version of the logo and the white kit features a solid black one. Even stranger, the orange that was removed from the logo is feature on the shoulders and socks of the kit (but also appears to be two different shades).

As a whole the kit seems to have a lot going on. There is a giant version of their logo with a pattern in it featured prominently in the middle of the jersey which distracting. It appears that the pattern continues into the arms as well. I like the white kit more simply because the bull is a lot more subtle. Overall, I feel as if this kit missed the mark.

Colorado Raptors

The Raptors immediately earn a lot of points just for how creative this kit design is. The away kit featuring the wings from the Raptors’ logo on the back is such a brilliant idea. It is something I have never seen a rugby team do and pulled it off masterfully.

The Raptors underwent a bit small rebrand this offseason. They changed their name from “Glendale” to “Colorado”. This is a great move since Colorado has significantly more global recognition than Glendale. The Raptors are fully embracing their new identity by incorporating the Colorado state flag into the kit in a significant way. The flag is featured prominently in the centre of the jersey. I’m torn on how I feel about this.

On one hand, I think it looks great. On the other hand, the flag is in a prime location for a sponsor. By putting a major design element of you kit front and centre, you eliminate your ability to sell sponsorship for that part of the kit. Even if the Raptors still get a sponsor for the front of the kit, the flag may need to be covered up. Despite my concern of sponsorship revenue, it is a great looking kit.

The home kit does not feature the bold wings of the white kit, but it does have a very sharp modern take on a rugby kit. I’m a big fan of the double blue feeling to the jersey. The red pattern on the right side is another creative element of the kit that is unique and done exceptionally.

Houston SaberCat

I am a huge fan of bright colours. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know whether to review this kit or just put the heart-eyes emoji and move onto the next kit.

I’m going to give the review a shot. This kit is as flawless as Sam Windsor’s boot. The home kit features a black base with plenty of bright yellow accenting the collar, arms, and shorts perfectly. The yellow of the SaberCats’ emblem really pops on here as well. The stripping pattern on the socks is also excellent. The SaberCats have added a sublimated logo on the stomach of the jersey. It is subtle, but still noticeable and is a nice feature.

The away kit is bright yellow and is nearly an inverse of the home kit. The exception being a terrific striping pattern across the chest. To top it off, as if it was possible to like this kit more, they have a sponsor on prominent display. My personal favourite kit set in Major League Rugby.

San Diego Legion

The biggest change to the San Diego Legion kit is the striped pattern has been replaced by a gradient design that runs throughout the entire uniform. The home kit starts as red and then fades to black as you approach the waist. The shorts and socks continue to be black. The away kit starts as black and fades to white. The fade on the gradient is aided by a spotted pattern that featured throughout the kit.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this kit. To be honest I think I have landed on indifference. It’s not ugly, but it isn’t beautiful either. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. Maybe it will grow on me the more I see it.

Seattle Seawolves

The only team in MLR history to raise the Shield wants you to know that they are back-to-back Champions. The Seawolves have added two stars above their logo to denote their Championships. That is not the only addition to the kit. The blue home kit features a hoop pattern that features an incredibly cool detail; each of the four hoops on the kit features the names of the Seawolves’ season ticket holders in an awesome tribute to the fanbase.

The neon green away kit also has a cool design feature that returns from last season. The Seattle skyline has a prominent place on the front of the kit. Once again, I feel like there is a downside to putting a major design feature in a prime spot for a sponsor logo regardless of how great it looks. Seattle still has a sponsor on the back and left side, but the most valuable sponsorship is always the front.

Overall, I’m a big fan of these kits. The blue and neon green that has become synonymous with Seattle sports works incredibly well on a rugby kit. Just hoops would be enough to love this kit as a classic rugby design, but the fans names really elevate how phenomenal this kit is.

Utah Warriors

The Utah Warriors have added many elements to their kit to make it truly unique to them. The Warriors mantras are featured throughout the kit, the back collar features the words “Family, Community, Tradition, Respect” and the left arm of the features “#Reloaded”.

The overall design of the kit is sharp. The home kit is black with red stripes across the chest and arms. If you look closely, the kit features a pattern throughout. In contrast, you don’t need to look closely to see the pattern on the red away kit. Black dots are sprinkled throughout the kit. The pattern resembles the Matrix a little bit.

Overall, it’s a unique design and I’m a fan of it, but I think the black kit is the better of the two Warriors designs. The idea of putting slogans that are meaningful to the club on the kit is a great idea and will likely be a strong motivating factor for the players every time the take the pitch.

What do you think of MLR’s Western Conference kits? Do you agree with my opinion or do you want me to go get my eyes checked? Let me know and don’t forget to follow @Bressette4 and @LaymansSports on twitter for all your MLR news in the build-up to the 2020 season.

All Photos are courtesy of Darren Zemanek

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