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Surveying the design landscape across Major League Soccer: Eastern Conference

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Welcome to Dirty South Soccer's mini-series exploring the designs of MLS! In this three part series, teams will be assessed based on their color scheme's uniqueness and appeal. This first entry looks at the Eastern Conference. Thursday, we will review the Western Conference. Finally, Friday will explore the upcoming expansion sides with the soon-to-be-unveiled LAFC colors and crest.

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Note: Grades will be assessed on a five point scale with five being the best.

Chicago Fire

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Chicago is one of the league's staple clubs and has long used red as its primary color. The team crest has remained unchanged since its debut and has passed the time test. Occasional variations with the white or blue chest stripe distinguish them from other all-red clubs. Stick with the white, it's a classic look.

Uniqueness: 2. One of a number of red, white, and blue teams, While not quite a founding member of the league, Chicago gets a pass as one of its early squads.

Appeal: 3. Overall a nice, traditional look. Though, a move away from the current blue shoulder funkiness would be welcomed.

Columbus Crew

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A great example of a unique color palette in the league. Columbus has forever embraced yellow and owns it. It is distinctly theirs and sets them apart on the pitch. Flip on the television and you'll instantly recognized the Crew. The club's crest change was a welcome move to rid itself of one of professional sports' strangest emblems. Recent rumors suggest a permanent move to black. While good looking, the black shouldn't be promoted above yellow as the primary Columbus look.

Uniqueness: 5. Columbus has made yellow their trademark color.

Appeal: 2. Columbus' scheme works great for a sports team, and less great as casual wear, if you're a fan.

DC United

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The latest club to undergo a makeover, DC United have a fresh new badge to show off. The brand language is essentially unchanged. Black remains the primary color and has been since the club's inception as an inaugural MLS member. Set apart as the only all-black club in the league, DC United has arrived at a classic look. Small touches of white and red complete the design, but the Screaming Eagles will always be black.

Uniqueness: 5. No other squad regularly wears all-black like DCU. They're like the Raiders of MLS.

Appeal: 5. One of the league's benchmarks for tradition also looks great.

Montreal Impact

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One of the league's newer teams also boasts one of its simpler looks. Traditionally either blue or white, it almost looks like Drogba never left Stamford Bridge. Montreal distinguishes itself from San Jose by minimizing the use of black, though the stripes looked great, in this writer's opinion. The Impact would have a real winner and a unique look when compared to other MLS clubs if they went that route. It's a simple fix- the stripes are already found on the club crest (which should lose the gradient effect...so ten years ago).

Uniqueness: 3. Montreal only competes with San Jose with the blue and black, though each club executes its colors differently. Montreal relegates black to a trim color.

Appeal: 3. Very simple, but not very exciting, either. If you don't like all-blue or all-white, the Impact aren't for you. That striped kit was about as wild as this club has gone.

New England Revolution

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With Columbus adopting a new crest, the crown for the league's worst badge now falls to New England with its crayon-drawn flag. The name Revolution is so much more inspiring and evokes possibilities for great imagery the club hasn't yet taken advantage of. Besides the flawed crest, the Revolution do have a unique kit amongst the league.

Uniqueness: 2. Again, another red, white, and blue team. New England gets a pass as an MLS original.

Appeal: 4. A nice look that's well executed. It's hard to argue against a Patriotic team decked out in red, white, and blue.

New York City FC

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New York City FC dresses like their parent club for the most part, but don't quite replicate their success. But, my, do they look good (don't forget to check the gorgeous flowing locks of Mix). A beautiful combination of sky blue and white with small touches of navy blue to compliment. A black alternate kit continues the emphasis on sky blue but adds subtle hints of orange. Look for the secondary strip to be a bit more experimental, though we should expect to see further usage of orange (which is present on the club crest and also a color of the city).

Uniqueness: 3. NYCFC features a very similar color scheme when compared to Sporting KC and Vancouver. Playing up the orange would help distinguish them.

Appeal: 5. A very dignified and professional looking club, befitting of one owned by prestigious organizations as Manchester City and the Yankees.

New York Red Bulls

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One New York team is owned by the parent club across the pond, and the other is owned by the familiar energy drink. Despite the overt sponsorship, the Red Bulls do use a classy look. Traditionally white and red, and navy blue on the road. The former MetroStars used to employ the AC Milan look which now appears headed to Atlanta.

Uniqueness: 3. A red, white, and blue squad which emphasizes the white and red. Almost an Arsenal-inverse.

Appeal: 3. If you can get over the raging bulls on the chest, New York is a pretty traditional looking organization.

Orlando City SC

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Orlando's debut season in Major League Soccer saw a very simple look consist of strictly purple and white. A welcome look which harkens back to the days of the Orlando Lions. Orlando City easily has a claim for one of the top crests in the league. Purple gives this Disney club a unique and classy design.

Uniqueness: 5. Purple is Orlando's to own in this league.

Appeal: 3. Generally not my color of choice, but it is befitting of the club and has historical precedence. And hey, it's hard to argue with the 30,000 fans every game who embrace it.

Philadelphia Union

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Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way- Philadelphia has the league's best mark. From the snake taken from a Ben Franklin political cartoon, to the shield on the city coat of arms, this crest is top of the class. The colors do just as well. A primarily navy blue look is supplemented by the official colors of the citysky blue and gold. Consider this club's identity a home run.

Uniqueness: 5. Philly strikes the right balance of colors that distinguish it from other MLS squads.

Appeal: 5. A great color palette that is both appealing and meaningful to the city.

Toronto FC

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The "Reds" utilize a traditional home kit and give life to one of sport's more underused colors- gray. Consider that one a favorite. Toronto also ranks near the league's top as far as the quality of its crest.

Uniqueness: 2. Another primarily red club, Toronto is set apart with its emphasis of gray. It does have to compete with other all-red clubs Chicago and Dallas, now that they've ditched the hoops.

Appeal: 4. Nice looking colors that are refined and classic. While not unique, it's hard to argue Toronto does all-red an injustice.