A couple of weeks ago, Houston’s MLS and NWSL franchises announced a major rebrand, significantly changing their logos for the first time since the franchises launched. It, uh, wasn’t the greatest change.
That Dash logo isn’t too bad, but the Dynamo crest? Whoooooof. But that got me thinking about logo design, and thought this would provide a good opportunity to do a dive into the current state of MLS logos. Because while some of them are good, and a lot of them are inoffensive corporate grist, there are also some that are downright awful. So rate them we shall!
Something to consider as we move on — there’s just no way to include all of the logos in this rating article without bucketing them, which is too much effort and frankly a bit overwhelming. With one notable exception, I’m also not including the logos of the expansion teams that have yet to join the league. These are, however, what we think are the ones that are the most emblematic of the rating categories. Feel free to argue as you wish.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings from their scoreless draw against Chelsea, to the theme of current MLS club logos.
5 stars: Minnesota United
Crafting a good logo is tough, because includes both imagery and color scheme, and to a lesser degree, typeface. Minnesota United nails all of it. The black loon (with a subtle red eye!), and the understated blue and grey stripes combine to make a striking, memorable crest that captures the Minnesota area and has a stylized bird that doesn’t look angry or “mean” or like it’s trying to peck your eyes out. It’s lovely.
No Tottenham players played this well, and that’s too bad.
4.5 stars: Vancouver Whitecaps
This is just about the perfect logo. The overlapping diamonds subtly evoke the mountains of the pacific northwest while creating an attractive symmetry, and the color scheme is marketable and tasteful. The only thing is that I wish it had less text.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Spurs’ defense did enough that Hugo didn’t have to do too many heroics against that high-powered Chelsea offense, but when he was called upon he was absolutely fantastic.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 4.0): Wow. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Ngolo Kante turned the way Tanguy turned him in midfield. He was ridiculous. Tired visibly in the second half, which makes sense since he was starting his third match in a week.
Serge Aurier (Community — 4.0): Serge Aurier hasn’t just been “good for Aurier,” he’s been just flat-out good this season. Stretched Chelsea’s defense on counters and had a good pop that stung Mendy’s hands. Rightfully keeping Doherty to Europa League duty.
4 stars: Columbus Crew
Circular logos are generally good, and in many ways this is one of my favorite MLS logos. However, it’s just a wee bit too... “SB Nation” to make it really REALLY good. Also, while a circle, this is what replaced the Crew’s amazing Workers Crest, easily the best logo in MLS history. This is still good, but it’s a downgrade from the Workers and its rating should reflect that.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): Another match where Hojbjerg put in a yeoman’s effort, often dropping into the back line when called upon. I’m running out of ways to say how good and important he is.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 4.0): A scoreless draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is unequivocally a good result, and it’s also an extremely Jose Mourinho result, especially against good teams. It sure wasn’t much fun to watch, but I can look back on the United and Southampton massacres fondly as what Spurs can do in other circumstances. This Tottenham Hotspur team is just a Jose Mourinho side now and that’s fine.
3.5 stars: Inter Miami FC
Another circular logo, and Inter Miami’s is a pretty decent one. There are two excellent birds — birds are good! More birds in logos, please. There’s again too much text. The “Club Internacional de Fútbol” thing is incredibly cringe — we get it, you’re in Miami — but it’s at least in a good font so I can kinda let it slide. The main thing I wish they had done is lean into the pink and made it the full focus of the color scheme instead of as the accent. Do that and this rockets up the rankings for me. Also lol at including the Roman numeral 2020 date in the crest, as though being born this season is something people should instantly commemorate.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): Dier played well but his performance was marred by some poor distribution out of the back. But positionally, Dier was great and he did well to keep Chelsea at bay.
Joe Rodon (Community — 3.5): I was pretty impressed with Rodon’s performance, though it should be noted that his match was bookended by two glaring errors. Rodon was strong in the air, and solid positionally. Also apparently likes a Vlad-esque ramble forward now and then. This was a crucible of a match for a young player who was in the Championship last season and on balance he passed the test.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 3.0): Not a perfect performance by any means but Reguilon needs room to run and rarely got that vs. Chelsea. Dealt admirably with the threat of Reece J ames.
3 stars: Real Salt Lake
A lot of MLS logos aren’t bad, per se, just... corporate, much like their teams. Real Salt Lake’s logo epitomizes this the best, in my opinion. Not only does it borrow its’ “Real” name from Spanish clubs, but the overall effect of the royal logo and color scheme makes it look like it was created in a lab. It’s not terrible, but it does nothing to differentiate itself from a plethora of other mediocre logos.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 3.5): I thought this was one of Stevie’s better performances this season. Worked hard and tried to be an outlet. A little sloppy with his final ball, but hey — wasn’t everyone?
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 3.5): I was not nearly as high on Sissoko’s performance as many others. He worked hard and did a competent job defensively, but he’s just a liability on offense. On the whole... he was fine. And I’m being nice.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.0): Pretty good overall performance as Ndombele’s replacement, but froze at the end with a chance to win the match. What happened, Gio?
2.5 stars: San Jose Earthquakes
Now we’re getting into the bad stuff. This is actually the Earthquake’s second logo — the club tried to modernize its branding from its original extremely 1990s flaming soccer ball and EKG-style wordmark... and somehow managed to make it worse. Yuck. This just isn’t interesting, much less distinctive.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.0): Chelsea did a very good job limiting Son’s effectiveness, and that should be noted, but it’s also true that when Son did have the ball he rarely did anything particularly noteworthy with it. A game that wasn’t set up for him to succeed and where he didnt play especially well.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): Kane was much more effective in the first half than in the second. Was a conduit for most of the counterattacks early on, but as Spurs’ offense stagnated in the second half, so did Kane.
2 stars: Chicago Fire
Speaking of botched redesigns... say hello to the Chicago Fire. The Fire managed to take something primal and with tons of potential (fire) and turn it into something that looks like a cross between a five-year old’s drawing of a crown and stylized monster teeth. It is frighteningly bad at just about every level. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so: according to The Athletic on Wednesday, the Fire are planning to create a new logo from scratch for the 2022 season. LMAO.
No players were poor enough to be in this category.
1 star: St. Louis CITY FC
I said I was ignoring the current expansion teams that haven’t started playing in MLS yet, but this is the exception because hoo boy is this a bad logo. Everything about it from the ground up is just a hot mess, from the deep hot pink color scheme to the offcentered line art that is supposed to represent the arch, I guess, to the fact that they apparently stylize their team name as St. Louis CITY SC (caps emphasized) for some reason. The cherry on this crappy cake is the fact that they clearly had to do something with the “SC” so they just slapped it at the bottom because that’s the only place it fits. You haven’t started play yet, St. Louis CITY. It’s not too late to change it. You should think about doing it now.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as the St. Louis CITY SC logo.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating: New England Revolution
I couldn’t have a MLS logo rankings without mentioning the Rev’s Crayon Flag logo, the only MLS team to keep its original branding from its debut in 1994. Yes, it’s dated and cheesy, but Revs fans have leaned into the skid and have fully embraced it. And I support that to the point where it deserves recognition but outside the scope of these ratings. Fly on, Crayon Flag.
Ben Davies, Lucas Moura