Take a breath.
After a whirlwind 2018 regular season – featuring the best half-season performance in MLS history – the Sounders have a bye as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference before playing in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals this weekend.
To commemorate the conclusion of the 34-match regular season, we collaborated with local artist Ian Mork to create an epic team poster.
Can you find all the hidden meanings? Let’s break it down!
Let’s start with the top of the illustration, where Chad Marshall and Kim Kee-hee are with goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who is building a brick wall in front of his net at CenturyLink Field. It was a career year for Frei – who is also showing his epic back tattoo – and the two center backs were a big part of his success. Goalkeeper Calle Brown – who stands at 6’6’’ – towers above the goalpost.
As an ode to the local college soccer season, former University of Washington standouts Handwalla Bwana and Henry Wingo are repping their college team, with midseason signing Felix Chenkam snapping a selfie.
To continue the spirit of goal celebrations, Will Bruin can be spotted with two thumbs up, along with some bear paw prints by his feet. Nicolás Lodeiro is doing his signature shoe-phone celebration and is joined by his son, who has become a fan favorite over the past few seasons.
Centrally, captain Ozzie Alonso hoists the Cascadia Cup, which the Sounders claimed last month for having the top regional record.
On the bottom left, Harry Shipp and Bryan Meredith pose for a high-five – an event that didn’t happen in San Jose, much to Harry’s dismay. In the middle of the photo, Brad Smith and Jordan Morris are playing video games with the Broldans – Cristian and Alex – with Cristian eating pizza, of course.
Last but not least, Clint Dempsey heads out of the stadium next to a #ThankYouDeuce sign, paying tribute to the legend who retired this summer.
In addition to the #ThankYouDeuce poster, there are a few other notable banners hanging around the field. There’s the MLS Cup banner hanging from the rafters on the west side, and RAVE Foundation and 2018 GM Vote banners on the east side as community and democracy in sports are pillars of the club.
In the Green Zone, a “Tough Kids” banner is a subtle nod to Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, who often refers to players battling injuries as “Tough Kids” to media.
The wolf prints in the top left corner are a reference to Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who played for the club for the first half of the season before returning to Europe. Speaking of animals, the goose is loose in the corner of the field.
The Pride flag represents the club’s commitment to inclusion and acceptance in sports. Bruin is sporting a black armband, paying tribute to late owner Paul Allen. The club wore black armbands in the two matches following Allen’s death.
During the club’s record nine-match winning streak, we had a fun animation on our social channels, and the same train can be seen winding through the crowd. Following the 1-0 win in Portland, we engaged in some banter – highlighting the L in Portland – which is also a sticker on the back of the video gaming TV. We also had fun with a logging truck that can be spotted on the field.
Seahawks legend Walter Jones, who has enjoyed a new hobby of soccer photography, can be found in the back with a camera. In the east stands, Roger Levesque is wearing lobster claws with a couple fans, representing the playful “Seattle Loves Portland, Maine” campaign from June.
Lastly, the video board features our playoffs campaign: You Will Hear Us.