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The Verde Report: Austin FC Has a New Jersey and It’s an Own Goal of Ugliness: Austin FC has committed to looking like a bushel of Granny Smith apples for close to half a season – Sports

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Austin FC’s Sentimiento Kit (Courtesy of Austin FC)

Austin FC lost a lot of road games last year – 13 of 17, to be exact – but for the most part, they looked good doing it. That won’t be the case this year.

On Tuesday the club unveiled a new secondary jersey for 2022, replacing the sharp white-with-green-piping “Legends Jersey” from 2021.

This year’s version is called “The Sentimiento” Kit, and it’s … something.

The name comes from the club’s rally cry – “verde es un sentimiento” – which means “green is a feeling.” Well, the Sentimiento Kit is, technically, green, but the only feeling you’re likely to get from the fluorite-colored top is the feeling of being overdue for a dentist appointment.

Austin FC and Adidas, the uniform manufacturer for all 28 MLS clubs, have tragically committed the cardinal sin of uniform design: They used the wrong shade of the team’s primary color. With the lone exception of the San Diego Chargers (pre-relocation to Los Angeles), this has never worked in the storied history of American sports. Can you imagine the Texas Longhorns rushing out of the tunnel dressed like Garfield the cat?

Austin FC has its trademarked shade of green. Officially, it’s called “Bright Verde” (confusing enough already, since the actual shade – Pantone 354 – is deep and dark) and is featured on the club’s primary jersey behind black stripes. The Sentimiento Kit messes with that mojo, but at least it makes grass stains blend in?

And then there’s the design. With the exception of sponsorships and a couple of locally themed Easter eggs, the Sentimiento Kit boasts all the flair and originality of the iconic “Club Jersey (Gender Neutral)” available for $35 on Adidas’ website.

Many will want to believe that this is a byproduct of Adidas’ exclusive status as MLS jersey supplier, which certainly has led to some stale and repetitive styling in the past. Not this time, though. In addition to Austin FC, six other MLS clubs – LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, and Seattle Sounders – released new kits for the upcoming season. All of them are more creative and visually nourishing than the Sentimiento Kit. Some of them, like Portland’s excellent “Heritage Rose” Kit and the Red Bulls’ “1Ritmo” (pronounced “un ritmo”) Kit, significantly so.

As a warmup or as a once-in-a-blue-moon alternate jersey, the Sentimiento Kit would be tolerable. But by having it replace the road whites of last season, Austin FC has committed to looking like a bushel of Granny Smith apples for close to half a season in 2022. On the bright side, the kit should function spectacularly well as a green screen, so it won’t be difficult to touch up some of your favorite Austin FC action shots with one of the many far more imaginative designs that have cycled through social media in recent weeks.

The thing is, Austin FC has done such a marvelous job building up the strength of its brand here in Central Texas – even involving supporters and local blues group Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears in the jersey’s unveiling – that it can survive one year of ugly closet. It might even sell some, too. Either way, here’s hoping the “sentimiento” is just a fleeting one, not a chronic one.

If you detected a distinct lack of actual soccer content in this week’s installation of “The Verde Report,” there’s a reason for that! Check out next week’s edition of The Austin Chronicle for our full Austin FC 2022 season preview featuring all the on-field info you’ll need to know ahead of the Feb. 26 season opener.

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