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Surveying the design landscape across Major League Soccer: Western Conference

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. The first entry looked at the Eastern Conference. Today, we will review the Western Conference. Tomorrow's conclusion will explore the upcoming expansion sides as well as recap the new LAFC colors and crest, which will be unveiled later today.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Click HERE to review the Eastern Conference entry.

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

Colorado Rapids

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A league founder, the Rapids have evolved their look over time. Originally featuring green, gold, and blue (blue on the crest), Colorado briefly changed to an Inter Milan look before settling on the current design. The Rapids now feature a more subdued and refined look of crimson and white with sky blue touches.

Uniqueness: 4. Relatively distinct amongst the league. Other clubs share the light blue, though Colorado minimizes its usage. Perhaps the contrast sleeves are a shout-out to sister club Arsenal.

Appeal: 4. Both attractive in terms of color and style, Colorado has a nice design that would fit in with any of the big leagues overseas.

FC Dallas

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The Dallas Burn originally featured a red and black design which was quite appealing. While the merits of the name were fair to be questioned, it's hard to deny the club had an attractive kit. Since then, Dallas has rebranded itself as "FC Dallas" and is now accompanied by a generic looking crest and colors. Even worse, they have ditched their recognizable red and white hoops for another all-red design, in the mold of both Chicago and Toronto.

Uniqueness: 1. A red, white, and blue squad which ditched its original colors. Now they're just the next team in line with a generic look.

Appeal: 2. The Dallas identity is neither offensive nor exciting. It simply exists.

Houston Dynamo

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Houston features a unique color combined with local flavor. The only orange-clad squad in the league, the Dynamo add in the baby blue which was forever associated with the Houston Oilers. Interestingly enough, the club was nearly dubbed "Houston 1836." The badge was quite attractive, though, owners failed to acknowledge that 1836 symbolized both the year the city was founded as well as the year in which Texas seceded from Mexico. Immediate backlash led to the reconsideration.

Uniqueness: 5. Similar to the Crew and the Sounders, Houston has a distinct color no other club lays claim to. Instant recognition with the orange.

Appeal: 4. If you can embrace the orange, Houston's look is solid.

LA Galaxy

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An MLS original, the Galacticos have tinkered with their colors a few times. Previously most known for the gold and greenBeckham's arrival brought LA into the new era. While the old colors were both attractive and unique, the current all-white design does have a clean look and places LA firmly as the Madrid of MLS. In a welcomed move, LA has traditionally kept the sash from the previous eras.

Uniqueness: 4. A rare MLS squad which emphasizes white, LA has a relatively distinct color scheme amongst the other league teams.

Appeal: 4. Like Madrid, it's hard to disagree with such a refined look. Classic white with small touches of color pass the test, even with small revisions with each new kit.

Portland Timbers

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An NASL import, Portland's identity was freshened up for its MLS debut. The green remained while the yellow's intensity was brightened to that of a highlighter. Always good for a nice kit, Portland balances the green and white at home with subtle yellow touches. The alternate looks are also complimentary with the retro designs and red and black "Rose City" themes.

Uniqueness: 5. The only club in the league with this scheme, Portland differs from Seattle's electric lime green look.

Appeal: 4. Strikes the right balance of tradition and attractiveness. The highlighter yellow could be toned down for something a bit more subdued, but overall a solid look.

Real Salt Lake

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Real Salt Lake has just hit the ten year anniversary and has more or less had the same look for its entire existence. They use all three colors in heavy doses, rather than using some as accent colors. All are very vibrant and there is little contrast. It's as if they couldn't decide which bright shades to use and just threw all of them at the wall. Unfortunately they all stuck.

Uniqueness: 3. While none of their individual colors are really unique, no other club uses them to the extent that RSL does, either.

Appeal: 1. Salt Lake needs to simplify their palette. Very overbearing. It's as if all three colors are competing for our attention. If they minimize it to just red and yellow with minimal blue trim, it can look quite nice (imagine the blue sleeve is gone).

San Jose Earthquakes

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Originally the Clash for the first few MLS seasons, the San Jose squad revived the old NASL nickname around the turn of the millennium. The Quakes did take a brief hiatus after shipping out to Houston but returned two seasons later. They returned, still in their classic blue and black, sometimes emphasizing the black a bit more. Either way, a well dressed squad overall, while the red look is a welcome move as an NASL throwback.

Uniqueness: 4. A similar scheme compared to the Impact, but overall executed much differently .

Appeal: 4. While Montreal focuses on either primarily blue or white, the Quakes' balance of both blue and black is quite nice. The blue with black sleeves is highly rated in this writer's opinion.

Seattle Sounders

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Compared to the majority of the league, things are quite wild up in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle uses two colors, which both appear to be custom designed for the club. The bright lime green nearly matches the turf, while the grayish blue is used as trim. A befitting color scheme for a club playing in this team's stadium.

Uniqueness: 5. No other club quite does vibrant colors like Seattle.

Appeal: 4. I will admit, this wouldn't fly for most other clubs. Consider me a closet fan of the neon green. Definitely wouldn't like it for my own team, but as I am observing thousands of miles away, I can respect it.

Sporting KC

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The former Wizards are all grown up! At times, they had some fairly plain and traditional looks. At other times, well...that just wasn't the case. But now that they've stepped into the 21st century with their visions to be more than a football club, KC, goes the route of a more subdued kit with pale blue. A truly beautiful alternate is available with their hoops. Try that for a look with real staying power. Lastly, their take on white is pretty great, as well. Plain white with small hints of silver.

Uniqueness: 3. While using a scheme similar to both NYCFC and Vancouver, Kansas City does much to differentiate themselves by focusing primarily on the pale blue, while the other clubs emphasize the white and navy.

Appeal: 5. A very refined color palette that's executed very well. The pale blue is nice as a standalone color, and also looks great when paired with the dark blue. One of the league's best dressed teams.

Vancouver Whitecaps

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Another NASL legacy club, the Whitecaps are also one of the league's better dressed teams. An elegant looking squad, from any of their all-white offerings, as well as the classic dark blue. Perhaps a throwback to the old days with the chest stripe?

Uniqueness: 3. As previously mentioned, similar in scheme to Sporting KC and NYCFC; Vancouver's distinction is the emphasis on primarily white and navy with small touches of light blue.

Appeal: 5. A sophisticated brand. Very clean in appearance.