The Rapids played the San Jose Earthquakes to a draw at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, and to say that the game lacked that certain "je ne sais quoi" is quite the understatement. In light of a game that provided little to no insight for either team, and since HBO's blockbuster fantasy drama recently returned, today's Daily Wave is a breakdown of who the characters and factions are in the Game of Throw-Ins!
LA Galaxy - House Lannister
Might as well start with the most obvious, right? Just like the big spenders of Westeros, no club in MLS has spent more historically than the Galaxy. Not only are they one of the richest, but LA are consistently a powerhouse in the league. The Lannisters wouldn't be in the powerful position they are without the wisdom and leadership of Tywin Lannister, AKA: Bruce Arena, and the Galaxy have the "Goalslayer" himself, Landon Donovan.
D.C. United - House Targaryen
Once the most feared and powerful house in all of Westeros, the Targaryens experienced a downfall of drastic proportions until eventually they were nothing more than a myth of days past. Sound familiar? D.C. was the original juggernaut of MLS, winning three of the first four MLS Cups. Fast-forward to 2013 and United set a new record for fewest victories. There is reason to be hopeful, however, as Ben Oslen (AKA: Khaleesi) is amassing a new army to retake their rightful place in America's top flight.
Seattle Sounders FC - House Tyrell
Lush and green are the rolling hills of the Tyrell's domain, and so too are the envious ambitions of those in the Emerald City. Money doesn't restrict Seattle, but power isn't won with wealth (unless you're Man City). With the Sounders, Sigi Schmid keeps getting so close to the crown, much like Margaery Tyrell, but each time they fall short. Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson were Schmid's Renly and Joffery. Has he finally picked a winner with Clint?
Sporting Kansas City - House Baratheon of Storm's End
SKC are physical, temperamental, and brave--all traits of the headstrong Baratheons. They are led by Peter Vermes, a Robert Baratheon if there's ever been one. When SKC re-branded they usurped the top spot in a struggling Eastern Conference and haven't looked back since.
FC Dallas - House Baratheon of Dragonstone
For years, Oscar Pareja was overshadowed by his mentor and elder, Shellas Hyndman, until finally he broke off on his own in Colorado. Now he's back in Dallas to take back what's rightfully his. For this reason, he is Stannis Baratheon. I mean, let's be honest... he must be using some sort of blood magic to produce the kinds of turnarounds he has with the Rapids and FCD. He's got a little Melisadre with Mauro Diaz.
Houston Dynamo - House Martell
It's hot in Dorne. Real hot. Houston, too, is known for those hot and humid evenings, and are just as unpredictable as their Game of Thrones counterparts. Just when you think the Dynamo are slumping, their cunning and tactical prowess hit you harder than ever. Brad Davis is the "Red Viper" of Houston as his perfectly curled crosses and set pieces tend to slowly kill their opponent.
Chicago Fire - House Stark
The Starks of Winterfell and the Fire of Chicago have a similar history in that both were once proud and strong, but have gone through disarray. Ever since Dennis Hamlett was CUT from the HEAD coach position (see what I did there?), Chicago has been a ghost of the team that went to the Eastern Conference Championship three years in a row. Who knows what the future holds though, as Harrison Shipp may carry the hopes of Chicago Fire as Bran Stark does for his house. Harrison has a more cultured right foot, however... Too soon?
Montreal Impact - House Greyjoy
Marco Di Vaio doesn't mess around with showboating. He's a straightforward finisher who strikes hard and fast. This is why he is the Balon Greyjoy of the MLS. The house motto of Greyjoy is "we do not sow," and all Montreal need to do is reap the benefits of Di Vaio's prolific nose for goal.
Columbus Crew - House Bolton
You have to admit, Greg Berhalter (pic) does look like a slightly younger Roose Bolton (pic). And besides, Federico Higuain, Will Trapp, and Bernardo Anor have made the Crew's attack ruthless this year.
Philadelphia Union - House Arryn
The Union and the Sons of Ben have a bit of old world chivalry about them. The Union name itself invokes a sense of unity and comradery, and they have a fortress at PPL Park that looks only to get stronger. Let's just hope John Hackworth doesn't go as crazy as the still-nursing Lysa Arryn.
Chivas USA - House Frey
It's probably safe to say most people aren't fans of the Freys, they were bought by the crown, and Walder Frey is Jorge Vergara. Seeing the connection here? Hopefully the buyout improves Chivas's standing and perception.
Colorado Rapids - House Tully
The Rapids name works well with the Riverlands that the Tullys rule over, but that's not the only reason Colorado are the Tullys. The Rapids have proven to be a tough team to beat despite not being one of the "big market clubs" in MLS. The castle at Riverrun is almost impossible to attack without taking heavy losses, and the Rapids are proving to be a difficult out themselves. And Pablo Mastroeni is no doubt the infamous "Blackfish."
Real Salt Lake - The Dothraki
The Dothraki are an intensely communal tribe of warriors who can strike swiftly at any minute. Kyle Beckerman may not have the build of Khal Drogo, but seriously, that hair! It's a wonder an opposing team hasn't tried to cut Beckerman's hair yet. It's obviously where he derives all his powers.
New England Revolution - The Night's Watch
A once abundant Castle Black is a place where the unwanted and castouts turn when they have no where else to go, and the Night's Watch welcomes them with open arms. The Revolution have gathered a number of castaways of their own--Lee Nguyen, Daigo Kobayashi, and Teal Bunbury to name a few--in hopes of regaining the strength they once held. And while he may not be a castaway himself, will Kelyn Rowe have the leadership potential of Jon Snow in their effort to beat the odds?
Vancouver Whitecaps - The Whitewalkers
Come on Vancouver fans, you knew this was coming. It's just too easy. Many assumed the Whitecaps would be dead and gone without Camilo this year, but they have risen to a decent start to the 2014 campaign.
Toronto FC - The Wildlings
Before this year, Toronto FC were an afterthought. Aside from the occasional raid on the other teams in the league, they were never seen as a threat. Could things have changed anymore this year with the addition of three potential World Cup starters? The Wildlings have patiently awaited their chance to attack south of the wall, and Toronto have done the same. With Michael "The General" Bradley leading the charge as Mance Rayder, can the rest of the league stop them?
Portland Timbers - Brotherhood Without Banners
The Brotherhood's name just screams Caleb Porter and the culture that has been built in Portland. Porter, AKA: the young Beric Dondarrion, has gathered his "brotherhood" of former Akron Zips and they fight for the interests of the common folk that make up the Timbers Army.
San Jose Earthquakes - The Hill Tribes
The Hill Tribes are savage barbarians who use brute force to get their way. San Jose endearingly call their strike partnership the "Bash Brothers." Need I say more? It may not always (ever?) be pretty, but SJ find a way to get results by just continuing to battle hard.
New York Red Bulls - The Faceless Men
The Red Bulls are the Faceless Men because few clubs have seen as many transformations as NY have. It's been a carousel of players and coaches throughout the years. It seems they may have found a face they can stick with in Mike Petke.
There you have it--each of the major players in the Game of Throw-Ins. Now, go show this article to the group of people you watch Game of Thrones with and introduce them to the beautiful game.