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Match Fitness: Back in action

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Rounding up the top looks from the opening weeks of the season

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Jordan Morris absolutely feelin’ himself
Sounders FC Digital

The MLS season is here, which means that it’s time for another year of Match Fitness! While the results so far have left some room for improvement, the team is still getting the flamethrowers going on the field and bringing some heat off of it.

With new faces in the squad and established players taking the opportunity to step their game up, there will be plenty of style to enjoy throughout the season.

In an effort to improve the depth and quality of this column, I’m making some adjustments to the format and how often it comes out this season. Rather than running a new edition of the column after every home game, there will be a new column every other game or so. This will allow for the column to really highlight the best or most interesting — or really, whatever criteria I choose when I’m writing a given edition — outfits from the previous games rather than having to stretch to fill the column. This should also mean that I’m able to provide higher quality and more in-depth analysis and commentary on the outfits that I cover.

Additionally, I’ll be including a poll at the end of each round of Match Fitness so that you can vote for your favorite outfit from the ones selected.

With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Jordy Delem, Nouhou, and Joevin Jones are followed by a creeping Kelvin Leerdam.
Sounders FC Digital

Jordy Delem is putting in another steady, unflashy showing here. Is he the best-dressed guy on the team? No, but he knows who he is and what works for him, and he works really well within that framework. Even when he’s just wearing jeans or chinos and a tee, he’s got an exceptional understanding of fit for his frame. He’s got a nice little chain and a big watch, along with his dopp kit, for some low-key accessorizing. He’s just doing the little things really well here.

I want to point out that Jordy pulled up in this same shirt in navy for a game last season, and I really respect someone who finds something they like and then buys it in every color. The shirt is apparently from a brand called Black Pike, but, uh, good luck actually finding this exact one.

Nouhou is, as ever, the highlight of this bunch. More commonly associated with bright colors and bold patterns, Nouhou traded his typically flashy duds for a little bit of luxury. Rocking what appears to be a velvety jacket and some silk pants, Nouhou kept the colors simple with black pants and jacket and a white tee. The fit of the jacket and pants is loose, with the draping of the jacket giving it a sort of kimono-vibe, and the cropped pants further exaggerating their wider silhouette.

Even if this outfit isn’t as bright or in your face, the boldness of the fit and styling is still just as much Nouhou as anything else we’ve seen him wear. It might not be a bicycle-kick clearance, but a lung-busting run to win a ball and earn a penalty kick is just as much a part of the 2020 Hou-Train experience.

Joevin Jones isn’t really doing anything wrong, but he’s not doing anything to get excited about, either. His polo’s kind of nice, and the moto pants are something. He showed up, but didn’t exactly distinguish himself. Kelvin Leerdam, lurking in the background, makes a bigger impression in this photo with the dramatic collar on his jacket. There’s not a ton of detail to make out beyond that, though.

Miguel Ibarra and the Brothers Roldan
Sounders FC Digital

Miguel Ibarra joined the team late in preseason and has made a pretty good impression through the first few games of the season. I’m on the record as being a big fan of a nautical stripe, and this big, textured nautical stripe sweatshirt that Ibarra’s got is really solid. The slouchy, over-sized fit keeps the look casual and relaxed, and while the large scale of the pattern may be bold, it’s simple and cool. The wash of his denim is a nice medium blue, and the fit seems skinny, but not super skinny. I also dig the big Louis Vuitton dopp kit he’s got under his arms. Keep it coming.

As ever, the Roldans came in looking fly as hell. They’re both impeccably groomed, no surprise given Cristian’s status as the team barber, and they both have great, individual style. For the CCL home leg, Cristian eschewed his usual printed or patterned shirts for a crisp, white button-up.

A white shirt can be tricky: depending on how it’s styled, what it’s worn with, it can give a look a clean touch or it can be boring. In this instance, the white shirt allows this Levi’s sherpa canvas trucker jacket to be the star of this outfit, and the jacket is up to the task. Sherpa or shearling-lined jackets have been pretty hot for a few years now, so there are lots of people making lots of different styles at varying price points out there, and they’re a great piece for when it’s not so wet as to need a rain jacket but there’s still a chill in the air. This one that Cristian’s wearing is a really great, classic style in an olive color that makes it super easy to work into almost any outfit.

Alex Roldan might not see a ton of the field in 2020, but he’s quickly climbing the ranks of the best-dressed players on the team. This outfit isn’t anything extraordinary at face value, but it goes to show the quality of the basic pieces in his closet. A well put together wardrobe allows you to basically close your eyes, pick things at random, and always come away with a solid outfit. Even if you don’t have any superstar pieces, you’re always going to look put together. Alex is wearing a nice polo (it looks like it might be Ted Baker, but it’s hard to say for sure) and a really cool jacket, even if it doesn’t jump out at first sight. The jacket appears to be a lightweight down/puffer jacket that’s cut somewhere between a blazer and a chore coat or shirt jacket. The little peak of a patterned lining is a nice touch that might really shine in another outfit.

Raúl Ruidíaz
Sounders FC Digital

Raúl Ruidíaz has been flexing in some absolutely wild jackets, showing up in a different one every week. For the CCL game it was an acid wash denim number, against Columbus it was a moto jacket with shiny gold sleeves. This one from the game against Chicago was the best of the bunch. While it might not be quite as bold as the other two, this suede or nubuck moto jacket still has plenty of design touches like the quilted patches on the shoulders and at the biceps. While I couldn’t find the exact jacket he’s wearing, you can find similar ones all over the place, like this one from Topman.

Ruidíaz showed up looking like a guy who was ready to fight for every inch of the field with his black and olive ensemble. We’re used to seeing him in hats, but this beanie is a little bit of a departure from the caps that he normally wears. While the trendier way of wearing a beanie at the moment is to roll it so that it’s practically just sitting on top of your head, Ruidíaz makes this one look plenty cool.

The Brothers Roldan and Dr. Morris
Sounders FC Digital

Oh, look, it’s the Roldans again! While ideally every player would be featured here at some point, as long as Alex and Cristian keep dressing like two of the most stylish guys on the roster, they’re going to keep showing up in the column. (Spoiler alert: this isn’t even the last appearance they’ll make in this edition of the column.) Cristian’s look here feels like it’s sort of his standard look. He’s back to his patterned shirts with this nice orange-ish brown floral print, and he’s topped it off with a black bomber jacket. The weight of this one is nice and light, keeping the look super casual and easy to wear. Rather than a dopp kit, Cristian’s carrying a simple belt bag. This look is super approachable, and is the kind of effortless style that he does so well.

Alex is probably the person on the team that anyone could copy his style and look great. He dresses in a way that’s very stylish and fashionable, but is also very easy to replicate and works for just about anyone. He’s not doing anything super fitted, or heavily accessorized, you don’t need to be able to shop at super high-end stores or boutiques to be able to make it work. The tan bomber jacket looks luxurious and stylish because the color evokes the feeling of a camel topcoat and its warmth and texture, and it doesn’t hurt that neutral colors are super popular right now. The best thing about a jacket like this is that it works with just about any outfit, and because they’re so big right now, everyone makes them at all sorts of price points. The pants are a slim, striped grey pant that are pretty similar to these from Topman. There are even cheaper versions out there, like these. Add a white tee, and you can replicate this look for under $100.

Miguel Ibarra and Yeimar Gómez Andrade
Sounders FC Digital

Ibarra makes his second appearance here on the strength of what is actually a double-Givenchy outfit. The sweatshirt is another slightly oversized one, not entirely unlike the sweatshirt from his previous inclusion. While I don’t love the print on it, I respect it, and I do enjoy the slouchy top paired with the slim black denim. The denim actually acts as a really great bridge between the black-and-white sweatshirt and the black-and-white(-and-red) sneakers, which also happen to be Givenchy. Again, I don’t know that they’re necessarily the sneakers that I’d buy, but I do like these ones. His Louis bag is back, but this time around he’s also added a pretty impressive chain that’s not too different from one that Ruidíaz has. On the whole, it’s been a good first couple of showings from Ibarra.

Yeimar Gómez Andrade is a big man. He very clearly has a personal style, and seems to want to dress well, but finding clothes that are both stylish and fit him has to be a challenge; it’s what’s been referred to in certain circles as the Román Torres Paradox. Here he’s got a pretty simple look going, with some very skinny jeans and a grey long-sleeved tee that both would fit quite differently on a smaller person — the shirt, for instance, is clearly intended to be boxy or oversized, based on the shoulder seams, but Yeimar is just so jacked that it looks like a slim fit shirt everywhere else.

He’s anchored the outfit with a pair of all-black Air Force 1 high tops, which are actually a perfect shoe for him, since they tend to look a little bit clunky on regular sized folks. His two-tone brown and black jacket is, well, it’s something, but it’s hard to tell exactly what to think of it since he’s not wearing it. I do appreciate his Louis Vuitton toiletry bag, which is probably actually the size of a duffel bag, but just looks small since he’s carrying it. I always appreciate some jewelry, so I’m very much here for the medallion or pendant that he’s wearing; I’d really like to get a better look at what exactly it is, though. It’s a good look, but I know he’s capable of even better.

Cristian and Alex Roldan...again.
Sounders FC Digital

I told you there would be more Roldan action. There’s not a ton to go over with this picture; Cristian’s pink shirt is really great, I appreciate them both wearing their chains and the fact that they’re wearing the same shoes. I enjoy Alex rocking what looks like (but I’m pretty sure is not) a Burberry plaid button-up worn open over an otherwise all-black ‘fit. It’s all just really good, and I think it’s worth looking at and admiring. Alex and Cristian are incredibly stylish, they’ve got great brows, and I think that they should be the Kardashian/Jenners of American Soccer. Not in, like, the reality TV sense, but in the people-as-brands, beauty and fashion lines, brand sponsorship sense.

The Broldans clothing line seems to be no more, and I’m here to say that that’s a travesty. Not that what it was deserves to still be around — it was just a couple of OK t-shirts, no one is mourning that particular loss — but that it came too early. Alex and Cristian should bring Broldans back, but this time as a full lifestyle brand, they should design a full product line, and they should send me samples of it. This is mostly in jest, but if anyone was going to do it, I think that they could.


Thanks for reading, and I’m excited to bring you all the best of fashion and style that this season has to offer. I hope you keep coming back as this column grows and evolves, and if you have any ideas or suggestions for what you’d like to see, please let me know!

Poll

Best Dressed

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Nouhou and his silk pants
    (28 votes)
  • 24%
    Cristian Roldan and his sherpa jacket
    (44 votes)
  • 33%
    Raúl Ruidíaz
    (60 votes)
  • 13%
    Alex Roldan and his tan bomber
    (24 votes)
  • 2%
    Miguel Ibarra and his Givenchy ‘fit
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    Alex Roldan and his black-and-"Burberry" look
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (comment below)
    (3 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now