Top 10 Stories Honorable Mentions 1231

Top 10 stories of 2014: Honorable mentions

2014 had too many standout moments to fit into our top 10 list. These were a few of the other great stories that didn't make the countdown:

Sounders FC Leads League in Attendance Once Again

Seattle set the standard for fan attendance in MLS once again in 2014, leading the league for the sixth consecutive season. A total of 743,485 people came through the gates at CenturyLink Field this past season, good for a per-game average of 43,734, more than 20,000 more than second-place Toronto FC. In addition leading the league in attendance in each of the six seasons of the franchise’s existence, Sounders FC has the six highest single-season attendance averages in MLS history. The biggest crowd of the season came for a July 13 matchup against the Portland Timbers, with 64,207 fans cheering the Rave Green on to a 2-0 win.

Front Office Moves Operation to Pioneer Square

Perhaps one of the more surprising moves the club made in 2014 was the decision to split business operations from the Seattle Seahawks in late April. After five seasons of sharing space at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, the Sounders moved to new offices in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood in downtown Seattle.

Located just blocks from CenturyLink Field, the club’s new offices are located in the Washington Shoe Building at 159 South Jackson Street. The building, which was built in 1892, is located on the March to the Match route. The team operations and practice facilities remain at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Newcomers Come Up Big in 2014

Sounders FC had a busy offseason prior to the 2014 season, returning just 15 players from the 2013 roster. Knowing that players like Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Evans would have extensive National Team duty in 2014, the front office added 17 new players from the previous year to bolster the team’s depth and prepare for the club’s ambition in MLS and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play. Including the 2014 MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall and goalkeeper Stefan Frei, eight of those newcomers appeared in at least 20 games across all competitions.

Forward Kenny Cooper (9g, 6a, 27 GP) was named U.S. Open Cup Player of the Tournament after scoring six goals and helping Sounders FC to its fourth USOC title in six years. Forward Chad Barrett (9g, 2a, 27 GP across all competitions) filled in nicely for Dempsey during the World Cup break, finishing fourth on the team with seven goals in MLS play, including three game-winners. Marco Pappa (7g, 8a, 37 GP) and Gonzalo Pineda (3g, 8a, 34 GP) were staples in the midfield for the Rave Green, with Pappa winning MLS Player of the Year awards from FutbolMLS.com and Univision, while Pineda was one of three finalists for 2014 MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Pitch Black Kits

Like all MLS clubs, Sounders FC has three options when it hits the locker room for a match. Traditionally, an MLS club’s third kit is a brief departure from the team’s traditional look and feel. In 2014, Sounders FC released its “Pitch Black” third kit. Taking a more toned-down approach to the third kit than in years past, it still included some of the neon elements that fans had seen in the Electricity and Super Cyan kits.

The kits also had a special homage to the 40th anniversary of the club: the bottom of the jersey was emblazoned with a patch to commemorate the milestone.

Each year since Sounders FC entered MLS in 2009, the club has unveiled a new jersey. The primary and secondary kits change every odd year and the third jersey changes on the even years. Players and fans quickly agreed that the “Pitch Black” kits were spot on and they went on to be the club's top-selling item in 2014.

FIFA 15

Clint Dempsey was named the North America cover athlete for FIFA 15 back in September. FIFA players in the United States went on to prove that Dempsey was indeed the proper choice.

According to EA Sports, Sounders FC is the most used MLS club by FIFA 15 players in the USA. As of late November, the Rave Green had been used in more than 1.9 million matches since the game was released two months earlier. In addition, Dempsey had scored 9.6 million goals, more than any other MLS player in the game. As of November, use of MLS teams in FIFA was up 112 percent from last year’s game.

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