Before we dig in, a mea culpa: this edition of Match Fitness is a doozy! Instead of hitting the cadence I’d intended of a column every two or three weeks, it’s been about a month and a half. With several Seattle Sounders and OL Reign games in that span, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’ll do my best to keep it brief, while still making this worth your time. Just know that there’s a lot of style to address. Let’s get going!
There are some really fun/funny carpool buddies in the squad these days. Danny Leyva gets a ride to work from Raúl Ruidíaz, which I have to imagine is one of the most enjoyable commutes possible. Kelyn Rowe and Brad Smith are the other most notable tandem. They’re not quite an odd couple, but they are a funny pairing, at least when it comes to their style. Brad Smith is a big Designer Brand Dude. He loves labels like he loves his wife. In that first photo he’s rocking a Givenchy shirt, Louboutin sneakers and a Gucci bag. Even dressed down a little in the second picture, he’s still rocking a Dover Street Market x Off White tee that’ll run you over $100 if you can find one from a reseller.
Meanwhile, Rowe’s bringing real Wine Guy energy in both of his looks here. With what seem like some canvas Sperrys and a light jacket in the first look, he’s just as ready for a game or a trip out on Lake Washington in his boat. The second look from Rowe is much stronger, in my opinion. The shirt is great — I’m partial to a floral print — with the dark base color serving as a perfect foundation for the muted pastel colors of the print, the scale of which is excellent. The way he’s styled it, too, with the buttons undone, his Ray-Bans hanging, and the sleeves casually rolled gives the look a really cool vibe. Pairing the nonchalance of the shirt with slacks and loafers is a pro move, really nice work.
For some people, coming casual with your ‘fit just isn’t going to cut it. There’s a long tradition of Sounders goalkeepers really dressing for games, and Spencer Richey and Stefan Cleveland both clearly understand the assignment even if their interpretations are a little different. Cleveland seems to be using his game-day looks to test run outfits for summer wedding season. I really dig the choice to work in shades of blue, opting for a jacket with a denim-y vibe to it paired with a darker blue pant and a striped bow tie that bridges the gap between the two shades of blue. The cuff of the pants is great, and I L O V E monkstrap loafers. My only complaint is that there’s something weird happening with his collar. I think it’s more of an attention to detail thing rather than fit, so I’ll let him slide.
Richey and Jimmy Medranda look like they coordinated their outfits, but I hope they both just happened to dress like they’re going to kill Captain America after the game by accident. I’m a big fan of the turtleneck looks from both of these guys. Richey’s looking cozier with his heavier weight turtleneck and topcoat. The fit is great, and his hair cut is clean. I’d feel perfectly safe with him as my bodyguard. Medranda’s spin on the turtleneck is definitely flashier. Leaning into the lighter side of the same color palette, the white shirt and sneakers really brighten this look up. The silver chain and Ferragamo belt crank the whole thing up a notch or two.
To be perfectly fair, the style game through the first couple months of the season for the Sounders has been a little lackluster. It’s not been bad, but no one’s really reached the levels we’ve seen in the past, and it just doesn’t look like guys are having as much fun with it. That’s absolutely not the case with OL Reign. Week in and week out, the Reign players are knocking the style game out of the park when they pull up at Cheney, and they do it while walking up to a veritable runway with teammates greeting them with cheers and a curated playlist to get the vibe right. Amber Brooks killed it with this Nike sweatsuit, but was worried that the look might not be strong enough on its own. Enter the ultimate accessory: her mom! There’s just no flex quite like walking up with your mom in a customized kit, and that Reign away number is an absolute stunner. Beautifully done, ‘Ber and ‘Ber’s Mom.
Nouhou has been rightfully praised for how he’s transitioned to his new role as a left-sided center back in the back three the Sounders are using. The versatility that allows him to play as one of the best left backs in the league AND as an elite CB doesn’t stop when he walks off the field, though. Nouhou also showcases an impressive versatility in his style. First he’s absolutely killin’ it with this high-end grunge-inspired streetwear look, throwing the sleeveless flannel over a Burberry tee and some black jeans, then finishing the whole thing off with some tan suede Chelsea boots. The look is tough. Then he comes at you with refined simplicity, sporting just the white button-up and letting his matching chain and watch do the talking for him. Nouhou’s always got something to make you go, “DAMN.”
An outfit doesn’t need to be expensive or flashy to make a statement. Sometimes it’s better and more important to use your look to make a literal statement, and Quinn’s got an incredibly important one. Protect trans kids. It’s just that simple. They crushed this one.
Nicole Momiki has made incredible use of being a Nike athlete. She keeps showing up in super clean sneakers (these ones are rad, and she showed up with some Nike Blazer Lows previously), and this trench-length rain jacket is awesome. We’ve only gotten glimpses of her in games so far, but I’m excited to see her creativity flourish on and off the field.
Abdoulaye Cissoko hasn’t yet made his Seattle Sounders debut, but if this Jaws shirt from H&M is any indication then he’s ready to make a splash.
Each of these four looks is strong, from the hat on Brad Smith’s head to the sneakers on everyone’s feet. I really want to talk about a couple of pieces here in particular, though. Fredy Montero isn’t featured in this edition of the column, but he still might be the biggest winner from the Sounders this time. His coffee shop, Santo, has made multiple appearances as he’s made sure that his teammates are all hooked up with coffee and merch, and the merchandise is good. The design is simple, rather than being over-worked. Brad Smith’s wearing that hat in two of the three pictures he’s in here, and the tee that Kelyn Rowe’s sporting is outstanding. Rolling the sleeves on a short sleeve shirt is an excellent styling move, and I appreciate that Rowe’s fully bought in on that.
When I said the Reign players were crushing the style game, I meant it from the bottom of my heart. No Sounders player has put the thought into a single look that Dani Weatherholt put into this one. Those boots. The proportions. The high-waisted pants and crop top. THE ATTITUDE. Goodness gracious. Boys, take notes.
I love Lauren Barnes and Jess Fishlock. I love them each individually, but I love them even more together. In our last time together for Match Fitness they made the cut for their coordinated outfits. This time, while the outfits aren’t coordinated in a match-y way, they feel very much like they’re meant to exist together. I can’t explain it any better than to say that it’s the early ‘90s and mom or dad has a hot new girlfriend and they’re very much in love and taking a trip to Atlantic City together. They look great, they’re having fun. What more could any of us ask? To see more of the fun, I highly suggest that you check out the OL Reign Instagram.
Will Bruin pulled up repping what is, in my opinion, one of the coolest jerseys available right now. Others have talked elsewhere about the latest crop of Reign jerseys, so I’ll just say that using a shared motif across the home and away is an awesome move, and the way that season ticket holders’ names were integrated into the pattern of the away shirt is by far the best and coolest execution of that concept that I’ve seen. After the fact, Bruin said on Twitter that he felt like he may have messed up by wearing a jacket and obscuring exactly what he was wearing and some of the details of the shirt. While I think more Sounders players should follow his lead and pick up a Reign jersey or two, and maybe some Storm gear as well, and it would be great to see those logos and that support front and center, there’s nothing wrong with trying to incorporate it into an actual outfit. Shouts to Will for grabbing that third piece to complete the look, but maybe next time use a bag or a hat.
To his credit, styling a jersey as part of your normal attire can be tricky. I wrote a little guide on the topic last year, and will be dropping something in the next week specifically on how I would style the Jimi Hendrix kit. After that, I’d love to help you solve your personal jersey woes, so prepare your questions and keep your ears and eyes open for more info on how to participate!