Editor’s note: In honor of jersey week, we are resurfacing this story that first ran in October 2016. It recounts the Tale of the Cursed Whites, easily the worst jersey the Sounders have ever worn in their entire history (we will not be voting on that as it is beyond debate).
The Sounders tempted fate last year. While they’ve built their brand on eschewing traditional colors, they went with an all-white kit as their secondary. At first glance, it had a classy, almost retro feel. I was willing to be won over.
But a closer look revealed nothing particularly interesting in the details. No watermarks, no patches, really nothing that suggested it was anything but an off-the-rack design that screamed “we’re out of ideas.”
For a team that made its image on trying — maybe too hard — to be different, these kits were boring, uninspired and completely out of character.
They may also have been cursed. I’m serious (well, Internet serious in any case).
Before dismissing the idea out of hand, hear me out.
There does seem to be something to this idea of something almost supernatural going on here.
Just look at the evidence. The kit’s debut came in Columbus, someplace the Sounders had never before lost. Despite two goals from Clint Dempsey, the Sounders fell 3-2.
The next time they wore them was a couple weeks later against Sporting Kansas City. You may remember that was the game Lamar Neagle had a goal incorrectly disallowed and Stefan Frei was called for a very controversial late penalty that ended up deciding the result.
The talk of curses, though, didn’t really start until the U.S. Open Cup, when the Sounders famously changed into white tops at halftime after the Timbers “forgot” to bring their away kits.
That game notoriously ended in the Red Card Wedding, kickstarted a series of events that saw the Sounders go 11-21-7 over parts of two seasons and ultimately cost Sigi Schmid his job.
Schmid, an admittedly superstitious person, even remarked how he never wanted to wear white again. Yet, the Sounders continued using them, to predictable results.
- June 28, 2015: 4-1 loss at Portland, which was the Sounders’ worst-ever loss to the Timbers.
- July 25, 2015: 1-0 loss at Montreal that featured defender Laurent Ciman scoring in the 88th minute. It was just his second MLS goal and he’s not scored since.
- Sept. 12, 2015: 1-1 tie at San Jose, a great result but one that ignominiously featured Roman Torres tearing his ACL.
- May 28, 2016: 2-1 loss at New England with the winning goal coming from some dude named Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who has not scored and has played less than 80 minutes since.
- June 28, 2016: 1-1 tie at RSL in the U.S. Open Cup, actually a pretty impressive result that saw the Sounders advance on penalties but an extreme outlier (it is telling that an ugly tie is an outlier).
- Aug. 28, 2016: 4-2 loss at Portland, with the Timbers scoring four first-half goals.
It’s hard to ignore at this point that something wasn’t right, and the easiest scapegoat was Cursed Whites.
As the Sounders went into Sunday’s game, they had amassed a horrendous record of 0-7-2 in the Cursed Whites and the Rave Green Faithful had started to notice.
Sunday started about how you’d expect. Already missing Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro, Andreas Ivanschitz was a late scratch and then Alvaro Fernandez went down in the 8th minute with a hamstring injury.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Fernandez’s replacement, Oniel Fisher, was called for an early penalty that put the Sounders in a 1-0 hole.
But Schmetzer’s Sounders don’t have time for supernatural annoyances. Ozzie Alonso equalized and before you knew it the Sounders were playing with a lead while a man up.
Still, one more sacrifice needed to be made, so it was the captain — a literal firstborn son — who took the fall.
In public comments, Brad Evans has been playing coy. But what may have seemed like an out-of-character moment of craziness, was more plausibly a clever plan.
Evans — who’s surely well studied in the occult — knew his sacrifice was the only way the Sounders could lift this curse.
Like all sacrifices, it was painful but necessary.
Of course, anyone who knows anything about curses knows this might not be over. While the Sounders may no longer be under the Cursed Whites’ spell, it’s entirely possible the kits are still cursed themselves.
Just to be careful, it’s probably best to burn them.