One of the most popular shows in the world returns Sunday, July 16, 2017 on HBO. Game of Thrones has taken the world by storm. Some 23 million people (counting original airings, re-runs, streaming and DVR) watched Season 6 of GOT. We are mildly obsessed.
That got us to thinking, what character best represents each Major League Soccer (MLS) club? We sat down and talked (and argued a bit) about what teams should be represented by what characters.
Needless to say, there are lots of spoilers in this article. Not just from the show, but we’ve dug into the books a little too. Move forward at your own risk.
Sporting Kansas City - Jon Snow
Jon Snow is a bastard (sort of) much like Kansas City was the bastard city of the original MLS teams. But they rose to power quickly winning the MLS Cup in 2000 (along with the Supporters’ Shield) much like Snow rose to be Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
Sporting were thought to be dead when the club was rumored to be leaving town much like Jon Snow appeared be dead after being stabbed by his “brothers.” Jon Snow rose from the dead and SKC were sold to OnGoal (Sporting Club) and have since won two US Open Cups and a MLS Cup. Kings of the North (even though they are in the West and were in the East)!
Real Salt Lake - Ramsey Snow
Linked to Sporting KC through their bastard surname (or rivalry). And as one of our staffers put it, “they are bastards who think they are legit.” Also, SKC beat RSL in the 2013 MLS Cup, much like Jon beat Ramsey into a pulp while taking back Winterfell. We are two selections in and we can’t stop ourselves from being homers.
Seattle Sounders - Cersei Lannister
Much like Cersei, they are currently on top as Queens of the league. They are the defending MLS Cup Champions but they don’t look to have a long reign. The same is true for Cersei, who has everyone coming for her. It’s also pretty fitting for Seattle because much like Cersei, they like to believe they are more powerful than they are.
Toronto FC - The Night King
The Night King is the leader of the White Walkers who are beyond the edge of the world (The Wall) much like Toronto are beyond the borders of the United States. Toronto is also like the Night King in that no one in the seven kingdoms has seen them as a threat, but they are coming. That parallels Toronto not being taken seriously for a long time but they’ve built (or bought) a strong team.
Chicago Fire - Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys is a member of a powerful house that held the Iron Throne for nearly three-hundred years. Chicago, much like the Targaryen’s, showed up and came to power immediately. Chicago won the MLS Cup as an expansion team. Since that time, Chicago has fallen off a lot much like Daenerys was forced into exile as a child.
Now though, Daenerys is coming for the throne again, much like Chicago is coming for the cup again. Plus Daenerys has dragons that breath fire. Chicago Fire.
New England Revolution - Stannis Baratheon
The Revolution, much like Stannis, have always been cast to the outer reaches of the realm. For Stannis, that’s being at Dragonstone or even going beyond the Wall. For New England, that’s playing in Gillette Stadium with all their empty seats.
New England have also been so close to having power but always fall short (five MLS Cup losses). Stannis knows the feeling since he ultimately fell short of obtaining the Iron Throne and was slayed at the hand of a woman. Kind of like New England losing to LA over and over.
D.C. United - Robert Baratheon
Oh how the mighty have fallen. D.C. United are the proud holders of four MLS Cups. The last of which was in 2004. Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne for his house and seemed to be on top of the world. But that all changed a long time ago (Season 1 or Book 1, take your choice). Baratheon is dead and his house is nearly dead as well. D.C. United are as close to death as possible.
The hopes for United live with their new stadium which is under construction. The hope for House Baratheon may lay on the shoulders of one of Robert’s bastards, Gendry, who we last saw floating out to sea.
Montreal Impact - Brienne of Tarth
The Impact are a team that is often not taken very seriously much like Brienne of Tarth. Brienne, because she is a women and the world of Game of Thrones can be pretty sexist at times. The Impact, maybe because they’ve never really won anything. But when Montreal plays they show some exceptional skill (Ignacio Piatti could be the best player in the league when healthy). And Brienne will cut down just about anyone in single combat.
FC Dallas - Varys
Varys is the Master of Whisperers. I don’t know that Dallas and Oscar Parejas are whispering, but they are quietly one of the best teams in the league. They are not at the top because they outspend other teams, it’s because they are smart. They develop from within. Varys is a eunuch, yet the man has balls! He is always lingering around the top despite having no right to be there. The same could be said of Dallas. They are just smarter than everyone else.
Colorado Rapids - Balon Greyjoy
Balon Greyjoy rose up and named himself King of the Iron Isles. In 2010, Colorado somehow raised themselves to MLS Cup Champions. Since then, they have (mostly) dwelled at or near the bottom of the league. That parallels Balon’s collapse as well. His rebellion was crushed by Robert Baratheon and eventually, he rested at the bottom of the sea. Dead and without a throne.
Minnesota United - Robb Stark
Minnesota, like Robb Stark, were kings for a time. While Stark was King of North, Minnesota were kings of the NASL. But now they are in MLS and things are a little tougher. Just like Robb found out when he tried to rebel and take over all of Westeros.
New York City FC - Jaime Lannister
Jaime is easy to hate. When we first meet him he is banging his sister and pushing a child out of a window to ultimately cripple Bran Stark. When we first met NYCFC they were signing (older) world class players and spending lots of money while appearing to be a visual clone of their sister club, Manchester City in the Premier League.
As the seasons/books go on though, Jaime, while still doing detestable things at times, is downright likable. NYC play some very attractive soccer and can be very enjoyable to watch, even if you want to hate them for buying their way into contention.
Orlando City SC - Sansa Stark
Sansa Stark is a character you want to like as Orlando is a team you want to like. Orlando have an amazing stadium and a passionate fan base. Sansa is a member of a beloved family. Orlando were the USL affiliate of Sporting Kansas City. But Sansa is so annoying for so long. Always whining and complaining. Much like Orlando fans, always thinking they are the victim of bad calls. Sansa is having a bit of a redemption, could Orlando do the same?
Atlanta United - Bronn
Bronn is a sellsword who emerges to save Tyrion in a trial by combat when he is wrongly accused of trying to kill Bran Stark. Atlanta didn’t get accused of anything, but they feel like a team full of sellswords. They went out and spent on expensive young players and play very exciting soccer. So far their players look worth the money, just like Bronn is worth what the Lannister’s keep paying him to do their bidding.
LA Galaxy - Joffrey Baratheon
If you aren’t a Galaxy fan, you probably hate the Galaxy. They buy up players left and right. The league changes rules to make sure they are given advantages they don’t deserve. Well everyone hates Joffrey. A bastard born out of incest takes over the Iron Throne, which by birth he doesn’t deserve. Joffrey ultimately gets what he deserves when he is poisoned at his wedding. I don’t know if LA has been poisoned, though the hiring of Curt Onalfo may be close, but they they are languishing in 2017.
New York Red Bulls - Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion is always the right hand of power. Whether he is acting as Hand of the King for his nephew Joffrey or now sitting alongside hopeful Queen Daenerys, he’s always right next to ultimate power. That feels like the Red Bulls. They are always right there, winning a couple Supporters Shields but never getting the top spot in the league by winning a MLS Cup.
The Red Bulls are also part of a big family. They own lots of sports teams, specifically football clubs RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig, with New York being the little brother team. Tyrion, the Imp, is the little brother to Jaime and part of a powerful family too. It could also be argued, despite existing much longer, RBNY are already the little brother of NYCFC. The only New York team actually in NY.
Vancouver Whitecaps - White Walkers
The reason they are White Walkers, or what the book refers to as “Whites,” is because they are in the second tier of Canadian teams. The Whites aren’t like the Night King, who was created by the Children of the Forest, but more like ice zombies that are made up of dead Wildlings and members of the Night’s Watch. Or put another way, they are not Toronto.
Houston Dynamo - Lady Stoneheart
In A Song of Ice and Fire the story of Catelyn Stark doesn’t end at the Red Wedding. Instead her dead body is retrieved from the river by the Brotherhood Without Banners and Beric Dondarrion brings her back to life. That is a lot like the Dynamo have come back to life in 2017. They were bad for a while, but a strong team for years. No word on if they are seeking revenge by hanging their enemies.
Philadelphia Union - Podrick Payne
Pod means well. He goes from being the faithful squire of Tyrion to serving Lady Brienne. But he’s a bit hapless. He has blunders but then shows moments of greatness, like saving Tyrion’s life in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Philly also feel pretty hapless. They haven’t ever quite hit their stride but occasionally stumble into near strong results, like back-to-back runners up in the US Open Cup.
Portland Timbers - Margaery Tyrell
Oh man is Margaery Tyrell pretty. Also, she’s part of a strong house of which other houses seek to be joined with. Margaery was Queen to three different Kings (I’d say she gets around but she only consummated one of those marriages). There are some similarities with the Timbers. Providence Park and the raucous Timbers Army is the envy of much of the league. They also play beautiful soccer, with lots of talented offensive players. They are also a club with a strong history, even if most of it wasn’t in MLS. For their sake lets hope there is no wildfire under Providence Park.
San Jose Earthquakes - Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
San Jose were a team that started out as the Clash before a re-brand to the Earthquakes. Littlefinger did a bit of re-branding of his own. He took his tiny house, of which he is the only living member, from a little piece of shores referred to as “The Fingers” and manipulated his way to greatness. San Jose have had their share of success with two MLS Cups and two Supporters Shields, though I don’t know if there was any manipulation involved.
Columbus Crew SC - Tywin Lannister
Tywin, the head of the Lannister family until his untimely death had been around for what seems like forever. The Crew have been around since the beginning of the league. Tywin has held many positions of power of the years, being Hand of the King to the Mad King Aerys and later his grandson Joffrey. He also serves as the Lord of Casterly Rock. The Columbus Crew have held lots of titles over the years with a MLS Cup, three Supporters Shields’ and a US Open Cup. But the last title came in 2009 (SS) and they had quite the fail in the 2015 MLS Cup Finals against Portland. Much like Tywin’s fail when he was shot in the groin by his son.
If you don’t like some of our picks, I’ll remind you that due to the hard work of The Cauldron we basically get final say on all things Game of Thrones and MLS related.
The tifo went EXACTLY how I mocked it up a few months back (below). TEFFER TEAM 6 is a helluva a tifo team. pic.twitter.com/3DUxQqOOXU— SIR BACONWURST (@Brisket_Bob) May 2, 2016
[Now this is all just for fun. The article was mostly written by Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) with contributions from Ben Gartland and Cody Bradley. So mostly be mad at Chad. We’d love to hear in the comments what other characters (there are so many!) you think would be a perfect match for a club. Obviously, our Kansas City bias may have came through just a little bit. Sorry Seattle, Salt Lake and LA specifically. Well, not really.]