Fun With MLS Team Names

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The 2015 MLS season is happening, starting today. In the interest of completism and exploration of the idiosyncrasies of this absurd league, let’s go through every team, alphabetically, and make a highly scientific effort to determine how many players on each team that team’s mascot accurately describes.

Chicago Fire: None of the Fire are actually on fire and a cursory search for “Chicago Fire player arson” is so bogged down by the TV show that I think it's safe to assume they didn't hire any arsonists. But Jeff Larentowicz has red hair, so that makes one.

Colorado Rapids: All professional athletes are fast, but after watching Colorado a bunch last season, it seems that seven Colorado Rapids are truly rapid. DeShorn Brown once scored a goal 14 seconds into a game, making him the most rapid of all the Rapids. Joe Nasco, he of the 34-second red card, is unfortunately gone.

Columbus Crew: Duh, every single one of them is crew. This is like naming your sports team Sports Team Club.

DC United: Tempted to repeat the Crew answer here, but Conor Doyle has played for both the youth international teams of both the USA and Ireland, which is not a very united move, so all of DC United minus Conor Doyle.

FC Dallas: Obviously they're all a football club, but their nickname is the Hoops, so I ran the numbers and 13 FC Dallas players have the letter O in their name.

Houston Dynamo: Houston are not a dynamic team. Their best players are all over 30. So, to get literal, a dynamo is a magnetic conduction device that does science stuff. Science is taught in colleges. 12 Houston players went to college.

LA Galaxy: MLS is really bottom heavy, alphabetically speaking. No A or B teams and we got to the middle of the 'phabet real quick. Anyway, Galaxy is a good nickname but only Bradford Jamieson IV and Gyasi Zardes have hair that looks like a starscape, so two.

Montreal Impact: Ignacio Piatti is the only impactful player, but they also have Calum Mallace, which is a great Scottish name I wish I made up.

New England Revolution: A revolution is when you overturn the orthodoxy and replace it with a new system. This doesn’t apply to soccer at a player-to-player scale at all, but for our purposes, seven Revolution players have played professionally in multiple countries.

New York City FC: Everyone on this team is new, but eight players are also new to the USA, which is the country where New York City is located. That is, before City Football Group and their Qatari financiers buy it and relocate it to Mars in 2030.

New York Red Bulls: There are no ungulates on this team, but like Chicago, they have one redhead. Unlike Chicago's, New York's is named Dax. He and Mix Diskerud are going to have to fight to see who gets to keep their three-letter name ending in “x” and who has to go back to using their real name (coincidentally, both are really named Michael).

Orlando City SC: In five years, when every team is just named after its city and MLS is fully boring and sensible, I won't get to do this game anymore. Or rather, I'll have to twist my logic like how I am about to do with Orlando City. They have a lion on their crest so I went through and guessed who was a cat person. Kaka leads a group of 12.

Philadelphia Union: They're all on the same team.

Portland Timbers: Trees tend to be very tall. Three members of the Portland Timbers are over 6-foot-2, including Nat Borchers, who looks like he is carved out of wood.

Real Salt Lake: Salt Lake is definitely real and every player is real too, probably, although I can’t confirm because I’ve only ever seen Kyle Beckerman in real life. I don’t want to cross my wires, ontologically speaking, and assume who is a holograph and who is not. But they have two royal players, most royal of whom is Beckerman because his hair is like a patchouli crown. The other is Luke Mulholland, who is from England, a small cold island that still has a monarch.

San Jose Earthquakes: The feature of the San Andreas fault that Avaya Stadium is closest to is the Monte Vista thrust fault. Most of the San Andreas is a transform fault but there are still vestiges of it's subductive past. Look at that, science is messy and indescribable by schematics a lot of the time. Anyway, zero Earthquakes are actual earthquakes.

Seattle Sounders: Regionally specific, weird nicknames are great. Sometimes, I wish the Sacramento Kings, my favorite and coincidentally also the best NBA team, would embrace their identity and rebrand themselves the Riverboats or something. The only thing with Seattle is, you can't really personify the qualities of the Puget Sound. It's just sort of there. But! The Sounders play in rave green. Once my friend went to a rave at CenturyLink Field. How many Sounders could be ravers? Six, according to our math department.

Sporting Kansas City: Of all the funny rebrands during MLS' phase of appropriating the prefixes of famous clubs from around the world (e.g: Real, United), Sporting KC is certainly the funniest. I really hope the Atlanta expansion team has 'Mes Que Un Club' printed on the inside of one sleeve and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' on the other. Embrace the troll role! Before they became Sporting, they were the Wizards which is great and nonsensical and not geographically specific. In the interest of revisionist history, there are six wizards (defined here as very good players) on KC, at least until Erik Palmer-Brown goes and wins the Champions League with Juventus.

Toronto FC: MLS' answer to the wheel-spinning excess of the Brooklyn Nets. The subsection for the current era of TFC football on Wikipedia is entitled "New Levels of Ambition and Instability,” which is about right. Their only nickname is the Reds, a schtick which I've already had fun with. One of the rejected nicknames was the Toronto Northmen and they have nine players from Canada or other countries north of the US.

Vancouver Whitecaps: I hope that out there somewhere, in the murky corners of Boat Internet, there is a healthy community of sailing bloggers. If I found this world and convinced them to accept me, I would show someone pictures of every Whitecap and see which one has the specs to hack it in the world of competitive sailing. But that’s not gonna happen, so let’s shorten Whitecaps to caps. Eight players have made their full international debuts and earned caps.

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