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Third kits likely returning for some MLS teams

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Sounders would presumably be among the teams eligible to get them. What direction might they go?

Photos: Favorites of 2014

Third kits can be a divisive topic. They’re often an opportunity for teams and designers to try something “different,” where “different” pretty regularly means weird or wild. In the MLS era of the Seattle Sounders, third kits have fluctuated from being amped up extensions of the already loud home and away jerseys with the highlighter-colored Electricity and Super Cyan jerseys, and more subtle options that provide greater contrast or a different color like the Pitch Black and Pacific Blue of more recent years.

They haven’t all been home runs, but third kits have been pretty popular in the Puget Sound. Seattle’s Pitch Black was voted the Best MLS Jersey of All-Time back in May, while also claiming top honors in our own vote.

MLS did away with third kits following the 2017 season due to a lack of sales, but it appears as though they’re coming back for some clubs. A “leak” on Footy Headlines points to Atlanta United being among the clubs to get a third kit, while Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson indicates that the threshold for teams is 100,000 jersey sales to be eligible for a third kit.

It seems safe to assume that Seattle will be one of the other teams to add a third kit to their offerings, as they’re consistently one of the top teams in the league when it comes to moving merch and had four players in the top-25 in jersey sales in 2020.

This means we could be in line for two new Sounders jerseys this year with the black-and-pink banger that was the Nightfall jersey having run its course. With no leaks like the Atlanta United one mentioned above, we have only recent history in Sounders jerseys and the broader offerings from Adidas to guide our speculation. Adidas has been treating third kits as an opportunity for maximalism, utilizing bright colors and bold patterns, exemplified by the Juventus third.

Patterns and colors abound throughout the offerings from Adidas, with Real Madrid sporting a sort of infrared/pink number on their away kits and Manchester United rocking up in a geometric zebra pattern on theirs. Seattle hasn’t really done much in the way of bold patterns in the past — pinstripes have made an appearance or two, and their last two primary jerseys have showcased patterns, albeit subtler ones compared to some of the newer stuff out there — so that could be the direction they go with their third kit. If that’s the case I’d expect more subdued colors to be utilized. I’d put money on one of the away or third kit having black, or something approaching black, as the primary color, with maybe a return of a lighter shade of blue similar to that used on the throwback kits from a few years ago.

My hope is that the ‘away’ kit continues to be the club’s dark option, while the third is a bright or light number, maybe with a detailed pattern. We’ll just have to wait and see, though. What do you want from the team’s new kits?