Friday, May 10, 2013

Preview: 2012 Topps Major League Soccer

Schedule Release Date: July 15, 2013
Box Configurations: 24 packs per box, 10 cards per pack
SRP: Not Announced Yet

Box Break:
2 Autographs
3 Relic Cards

What To Expect:
Topps has signed a licensing agreement with Major League Soccer and they will be releasing their first set, 2013 Topps Major League Soccer, in July. Previously only Upper Deck had a MLS license so this will be interesting to see how things unfold; especially if Upper Deck ends up skipping a 2013 MLS set like is rumored. Topps has been making European football cards off and on over the last 3 decades so soccer cards are not new to them. They are actually using the 1978 EPL design for an insert in the release.
The base set is made up of a 200-card checklist with each of the teams being represented pretty well. Like most Topps sets there will be short prints, variations and parallels. None of the SP or variations have been announced yet. There are five base card parallels; Blue (#/50), Gold (#/25), Black (#/10), Printing Plates Golazo (1/1).

There are four autograph sets;
SuperDraft Autographs are rookies/young players. There are 4 parallel versions: Gold (#/25), Black (#/10), Red (#/10) and Golazo (1/1).
MLS Maestros Autographs cover the veteran players. There are 4 parallel versions: Gold (#/25), Black (#/10), Red (#/10)and Golazo (1/1).
Boot Die-Cut Autographs which focuses on retired and current goal threads
Extra Time Redemptions (#/99), these redemptions are for transfer players who join the league during the 2013 MLS season.

There are two relic sets;
MLS Kits contain a piece from a game used kit. There are 4 parallels; Blue (#/49) and Red (#/25) parallels. The Silver (#/5) parallel has a jumbo relic swatch and the Gold (1/1) parallel has a multi-colored jumbo relic swatch.
Autographed Relics have both a relic and an autograph. There are 5 parallels; Green (#/75), Gold (#/50), Black (#/25), Red (#/5) and Golazo (1/1). The Black and Red parallels have multi-colored swatches.

There are 4 base inserts plus one redemption;
1978 Topps EPL, uses current players but using the original 1978 Topps English Premier League design
This Is Soccer combines action shots and hideous designs straight out of Fleer’s 1994 design book
Rivalries is a combination of rival teams like Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers
Mini Cards
Redemption cards are good for an official MLS ball, I am not sure if it is game used or just an official ball

My Thoughts:
I love soccer and while I feel that Upper Deck has done a solid job, but if they end up shutting down or losing the MLS license it is nice to know that an experienced company will be taking over.

Topps has been producing football cards in Europe off and on since the 1970s so they know the sport. The last decade or so they have been focusing on the English Premier League and EuroCup/World Cup national teams, a couple of years ago they picked up the German Bundesliga. Bringing in an American version will not be a stretch for Topps and so far I dig the base card design. The inserts are another thing for me, I just feel that they are too busy and the autograph sets remind me of the Futera from 10-12 years ago.

The Seattle Sounders are well represented through the set so I am game and at least will be picking up singles and some random packs. Kind of disappointed that Fredy Montero, who is on loan to the Columbian First Division team Millonarios FC for the 2013 season, is not in the set.

Being a Topps set you know there are going to be a bunch of chase cards, SPs, minis, etc. In this case I am ok with Topps using the 1978-79 English Footballer design for the 1978 EPL insert. Personally I prefer the design used on the 1976-77 Topps English Footballer set or the 1977-78 English Footballer set but this is ok.

MLS cards in 2013
A different view of soccer from Topps
Large base set
5 hits per box

Sticker autographs
Busy designs
Lots of SP, variations and parallels

At this point it is kind of hard to rate, I think saying 3.5 out of 5 would be a reasonable assessment because I am not big on the designs used on the inserts, outside of the mini cards and 1978 EPL cards.

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