What's in a Lineup?

We’ve all been there, sitting at the pre-match bar or on our couch at home. It’s about an hour before kickoff and we’re frantically refreshing our Twitter feeds because we want to see what our team’s lineup is going to be. Is the player that was rumored to be hurt in practice going to start? Did that player who has been struggling to find goals get dropped to the bench? What’s the opposing team going to lineup like? So many questions, and one thing to provide the answers: The official team account tweets out a graphic of their lineup. Sure, it can be viewed as trivial, it’s just a graphic thrown together with some names and maybe pictures on it. But no, to us fans, it’s so much more! It tells us who plays in what position and how the formation is going to fill out. These tweets on matchdays are the thirst quenching substance to our thirsty souls.

But, what if they suck? What if our teams have bad graphics? What if they don’t give us the info we need?! Well, that’s where I come in. Every year here at Total MLS we like to rank the official team graphics from worst to first. Everything is taken into consideration here: style, substance, layout, info, etc. We run these graphics through a very complicated algorithm that puts the Audi Player Index to shame in order to produce a comprehensive list of which graphics are the best.

22. Minnesota United

Okay, first of all, never do a GIF of your lineup. It’s just a bad idea. Secondly, this looks like it was done in PowerPoint. Just bad.

21. New England Revolution

Only slightly better than a GIF, but a video is still a bad idea. Especially a video set to bad EDM music.

20. Vancouver Whitecaps

A lineup is supposed to tell you who is playing where, and this is just a graphic that looks like the Whitecaps are ready to get in a brawl. Weird.

19. Toronto FC

Yikes. Where to begin with this one. How about we just move on? There’s nothing useful about it.

18. San Jose Earthquakes

Same problem as the Whitecaps, but at least this somewhat communicates who is playing where.

17. Columbus Crew SC

Some unsolicited advice for the people in Columbus: learn about contrast. This lineup is a migraine waiting to happen. Staring at this long enough will have the same result as the staring at the Ark of the Covenant.

16. Philadelphia Union

This one gets a low rating because it tries to be a jack of all trades but masters none. It’d be much higher on the list if it was just the right side of the graphic, but the left side really drags it down.

15. New York City FC

Just a list of players. It’s plain, it’s bland. Where are they lining up? Doesn’t really communicate any valuable info other than who is playing.

14. Portland Timbers

Pretty much the same issues as NYCFC, but Portland gets more points for a cleaner graphic

13. Real Salt Lake

This is by far the most bold and controversial graphic on the list. RSL definitely gets points for thinking outside of the box, but also gets knocked for poor execution. After a couple of glances, the players are lined up in their 4-3-3 formation, but WHO are these people? No names. No numbers.

12. Orlando City SC

Font choice matters. This Comic Sans knock off ruins an otherwise good graphic. Sad!

11. Chicago Fire

Granted, this graphic has some good concepts to it. The spacing is nice, it has names and numbers, a proper formation, etc. But, the depth of the image is kind of dizzying and the names are too small.

10. LA Galaxy

Everyone knows LA Galaxy rule the MLS social media landscape, so you may be surprised to find them this low on this list. Their graphic is too busy and tries to do too much on an otherwise solid concept.

9. Montreal Impact

Nothing spectacular about this graphic, but it communicates all of the necessary information, and in two languages!

8. FC Dallas

It’s so close to being a great graphic, but its poor use of space keeps it from the top of the list. Also, why are the player bubbles so big? Is this a Texas joke? Probably.

7. Seattle Sounders

Another case of being close to great, but missing out on some important details. Why are the forward and center midfielder offset? Also, if you drop the player pictures, this would be much better. Bonus points for having the broadcast info.

6. Atlanta United

Atlanta executes on some of the finer details a bit better than Seattle. Nice spacing, great consistency of font. I even love the captain’s armband detail.

5. Sporting Kansas City

A well executed graphics lineup. Could make it a little bit more clear what the photo is in the background, but other than that this graphic is near perfect.

4. Houston Dynamo

It must be said, very little separates fourth from first but the details really matter. The font and the lightning bolts really make the graphic great.

3. New York Red Bulls

Love the simplicity here. Great job.

2. D.C. United

This is so close to being our top pick, but it just misses the top spot. There’s really nothing wrong with this lineup graphic. Love everything about it.

1. Colorado Rapids

Dare to dream. There’s always a risk when you are trying to communicate so much information in one graphic, but the Rapids do an incredible job with their line up. They even manage to make the sponsor fit in nicely.