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Match Fitness: Kit Competition, the hardest decision

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Choosing the champion of champions.

NWSL Championship: Seattle Reign vs. FC Kansas City - Photos

UPDATE: You the readers have spoken and, maybe unsurprisingly, The Seattle Sounders’ 2014-15 “Pitch Black” third kit has won in a landslide victory. “Pitch Black” is officially the greatest jersey from the two current top-tier soccer teams in the Puget Sound, at least according to you.

It’s been a whirlwind week of deciding between the bounty of beautiful kits from the current eras for the Seattle Sounders and OL Reign. There are many great looks that we’ve left behind, but it’s now time to make the hardest decision we’ve faced yet. Once again, five kits enter, but only one will come out as the greatest kit from the top-tiers of Puget Sound Professional soccer.


2013-14 Sounders Home

Best of 2013: Sounders FC by JaneG.Photography

This is the first of three jerseys that the Sounders wore during what is now clearly the golden age of Sounders jerseys, the 2014 season. The fact that fans were treated to some of the most exciting performances as the Oba-Deuce drift-compatibility tore through defenses along the path to the team’s US Open Cup-Supporters’ Shield double guaranteed that these three jerseys would have plenty of positive memories attached to them. Add to those memories that this batch of kits represented a degree of individual, custom creativity that has been unseen at any other point in the team’s MLS existence, and it’s no surprise that all three made it to this final round. Of the three, the home kit, with the Space Needle adorning the chest, is likely the most creative. This kit is unlike anything the team has ever worn, unlike anything you’re likely to see anyone else wear. Somehow, the Space Needle, which takes up roughly half of the front of the kit, manages to be subtle, only truly standing out due to the contrast in texture between the wireframe image and the fabric of the shirt. From a distance, or in anything but just the right light, the look is simple, understated, and that contrast is part of what makes this kit so special.

2013-14 Sounders Away

Best of 2013: Sounders FC by JaneG.Photography

The difference between the high of the authentic and on-field versions of this jersey, and the low of the replica version is absolutely mind-boggling. This jersey, with it’s intricate sash design and gleaming shale color, deserves to be here because of how great the version pictured here was, but if we held a vote for the worst jersey in the team’s history, you’d better believe that the replica version would make it to that final. I say that not to throw shade at the jersey, but to bring to light just how incredible the authentic version is. This kit is a work of art, on the field it was an act of pure beauty, and it will always be remembered as such.

2014-15 Sounders “Pitch Black”

Photos: Favorites of 2014

Rounding out the 2014 group is the Pitch Black kit, which is an absolute knock-out. If the prior jersey is a work of art, then Pitch Black is a Bad Bunny song. You can’t see this and not get excited: it’s in your face, but also holds everything in balance, keeping its brashness in check. The picture above feels like it fully encapsulates the kit. This moment was an absolute act of defiance, as Clint Dempsey nearly single-handedly drove the Sounders to a 4-4 draw in Portland as he notched a hattrick and celebrated in on his rivals turf, absolutely refusing to be denied. This kit is excellence, it nails every single detail, and was likely the first Sounders look that could be described as “badass.”

2015 Reign “Ultraviolet”

Reign Fall to FC Kansas City

If the Sounders jerseys from 2014 are permanently linked with good feelings as the team mostly stormed through every competition they faced, that’s the case for the Reign’s 2015 season. The team dominated through the regular season, losing only two games as they claimed the Supporters’ Shield, then ultimately falling 2-1 to Vlatko Andonovski’s FC Kansas City in the Final. The team was incredible, but they sadly didn’t wear the ultraviolet kit nearly enough as it really only appeared when the team played on the road. The rich purple and bright yellow were an incredible combination, with neither of them quite turned up to the eye-burning brightness of some of the similarly garish colors of other Reign and Sounders kits. The template was simple, but that played to the strength of this kit, as the boldness of the colors did the heavy lifting. The black-and-grey crest and shirt sponsor are an elite-tier detail.

2019-20 Reign Away

Reign FC social media

Full-disclosure: I hadn’t really looked closely at this kit until putting this series together. I’d seen it on the screen in games, and thought it was fine, but never dug any deeper. As a result, I thought that it was sort of a white, grey and black kit, and was more or less ambivalent about it. I didn’t think it was bad, but I wasn’t exactly clamoring to get one either. I have seen the error of my ways now, though. The danger of doing a white kit is that it can come across as overly plain, as little more than a white tee. This is so far from that. The version that existed in my mind, with the central stripe rendered in a soft grey, felt safe, it felt boring, but the starkness of the black-and-white look that actually exists here is absolutely stunning. The black stripe composed of a series of diamonds is a great detail, and the black collar, black crest, and black logos all genuinely give this kit, too, a badass vibe. It’s simple, sure, but sometimes simple is great.

Poll

Which kit is best?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    2013-14 Sounders Home
    (54 votes)
  • 15%
    2013-14 Sounders Away
    (35 votes)
  • 40%
    2014-15 Sounders "Pitch Black"
    (92 votes)
  • 13%
    2015 Reign Ultraviolet
    (31 votes)
  • 7%
    2019-20 Reign Away
    (18 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now