Me: “Hey, did you see the Crew revealed a new jersey today?”
Girlfriend: “No I didn’t, what’s it look like?”
Me: “Well it’s basically just all-black.”
Girlfriend: “Oh, just like Anthony Precourt’s soul.”
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) January 4, 2018
Setting aside my feelings about certain individuals at this organization, the Columbus Crew continue to set the pace for sick kits within MLS. Their new all-black 2018 away kit does justice to its predecessor, which might be one of the greatest kits in MLS history (that’s a list for another day).
This edition keeps the popular checkered backdrop embraced by Crew fans well before the team’s 2015 rebrand, though the contrast seems more subdued. Aside from the Acura logo and wordmark, all white elements have been washed out of the new jersey, as well as any yellow trim, leaving a sleek, two-tone uniform that the Columbus faithful can at least momentarily enjoy.
My favorite part of this new kit is its commitment to a concept. The designers didn’t cop-out by throwing unnecessary white stripes on the shoulders or sides. Neither did they ruin the look by choosing a yellow short or over-designing the socks. The gray stripes down the sides of the top and short are actually my favorite part of the new kit. I said in my review of New England’s latest jersey release I wished they could remove the Adidas stripes from the short because they can distract from the overall design. The Crew effectively did this by choosing a dark gray stripe that’s a continuation of the well-hidden side stripes. I actually credit this jersey for its great utilization of side stripes, which I usually dislike on jerseys. Maybe it’s just because I can’t see them.
Another great part of this black kit is how well yellow looks on it. The yellow on this kit shines through like spotlight through the abyss, almost as if it’s being projected onto the kit. The one-button collar is also a perfect choice, keeping the jersey looking more professional and less like a silky nightgown.
The back is also simple, yet beautifully constructed. Pulling the “96” shield from the logo is a great nod to the team’s history and probably works better in this spot, but the Ohio flag seen on the neck of the current primary jersey will be missed.
There are a couple placing issues I have with some parts of the uniform. First, I’d move the charter member tag seen above at the bottom of Pipa’s shirt down to the left pant leg to offset the logo on the right pant leg. This would keep the top as streamlined as possible.
Speaking of that pant logo, it’s odd to see two full-sized primary logos on one jersey, especially when there are so few things to look at and the color pops so much. The right pant leg would be a great spot to place an Ohio flag, Columbus flag, team wordmark, or nothing at all. The logo severely distracts from the overall impressive top, but doesn’t add anything interesting or unique to the jersey. In this case, a double negative doesn’t make a positive.
I’m also confused by why the Acura logo wasn’t also given the yellow treatment. It’s the only white that appears on the jersey, and it’s immediately distracting. This could be exactly how Acura wanted it to be, and it doesn’t necessarily look bad, but it goes against a stellar color concept and that’s disappointing.
It’s not perfect, and isn’t quite as good as the last away kit, but the Crew have produced an early favorite for MLS kit of the year with this fresh, modern take on an classic color scheme. The Crew will wear these threads for its 23rd season. Let’s hope we see it again in 2019. #SaveTheCrew.
Shirt Design/Pattern- 3/4
Use of Color- 1.5/2