The ball is round, and full of terrors. Throughout the sixth season of Game of Thrones, we will endeavor to produce a commentary, following each new episode, on what the show can tell us about the epic adventure that is NYCFC's second year, and vice-versa.
As you may have guessed, this article contains spoilers concerning Season 6, Episode 1.
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Barely twenty-four hours after the final whistle signaled a death knell for New York City FC on the road Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, HBO premiered the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Like NYCFC's performance a day earlier, the premiere episode was brimming with embattled characters facing dire odds, yet unsure of their next move.
And just like the New York City FC we've seen through 41 total games, this season of HBO's flagship drama has begun much like last season ended-- the good guys just can't manage a win.
The fifth year of Game of Thrones ended with Jon Snow, a steely hero long-content to put his team on his shoulders and will his way to victory, splayed out on the ground, utterly destroyed, in a creeping pool of his own blood. Much of Sunday's premiere dwelled on Lord Snow's ruined body, the man's sheer relevance as a consummate game-changer still looming large.
Ser Davos Seaworth, alongside the few members of the Night's Watch with the proper sense of deference for their fallen captain, grabs Jon's body to keep it safe from the mutineers who misunderstood the young man's genius. As Davos directs a morose gaze at the Lord Commander's corpse, it's as if he half-expects the man to pop right up, unsheath the steel, and re-commence the ass-kicking. As viewers, come on... we were thinking that, too.
And these days, that's just how NYCFC fans are looking at David Villa: for all his apparent lifelessness through lack of service on the pitch, everyone knows he's not really dead. So what's Villa waiting for? His team needs him right now, or else the bad guys are going to win.
But such is the burden of command.
Like Jon Snow, David Villa didn't really have to choose to be the captain; it was simply a station that wouldn't have suited anyone else. Could you imagine the downright untrustworthy Ned Grabavoy donning the armband for NYCFC in 2015? Absolutely not, just as honorless mutineer Alliser Thorne could never hope to lead the Night's Watch.
The ability of the David Villas and Jon Snows of the world to strike that altogether strange balance between pragmatic leadership and unhinged attacking ferocity isn't taught. It can't be. But rarified ability comes with inherent limitations-- sometimes, you're just too gifted for your own good. It can be alienating.
For Jon Snow, his decision to extend an olive branch to the Free Folk beyond The Wall -- the only decision, really, what with the creeping scourge of the White Walkers -- got him killed by a pack of dilettantes too dense to grasp the essential importance of his leadership. For David Villa, equal brilliance has gone similarly unheeded, as he's spent most of his NYCFC career on an island, putting in brutally impressive shifts at center forward without much of any glory to show for it. Compared to the baseline of Major League Soccer, Villa is practically an alien. So, as he often does, he tried to put the team on his back on Saturday against Philadelphia. And he toiled. He fought. He took ten shots, and he didn't score.
None of his teammates scored, either. And this week, a short turnaround finds the Blues forced to defend Castle Bronx on Wednesday night against the armies from north of The Wall. Whether or not this ends up a violent affair remains to be seen. But one thing is clear, as if the disembodied ghost of Jason Kreis were whispering right into our ears:
Brace yourselves. Drogba is coming.
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New York City FC is marketed to you, me, and everyone as the sexy redhead Melisandre. But a squad top-heavy with aging DPs and overpaid role players isn't a championship squad; it is one falsely propped up with magic tricks (that is, marketing techniques). What NYCFC has actually been on the field, through forty-one games, is the ancient, gray, dilapidated Melisandre that ambled gingerly into bed at the close of Sunday's Game of Thrones premiere. Yes, folks, you've been sold a bill of goods, just like Stannis Baratheon. You paid for it with your own money. The question is this: can the "real" Melisandre -- that absolute hag of a witch -- still hold court and deliver us from darkness?
Or maybe the metaphor is wrong. Perhaps the ancient, gray, dilapidated Melisandre is a stand-in for Frank Lampard: a legendary figure said to possess great power, but whose guise is ultimately a lie. In either case, there's no magic spell that can overcome the very passage of time and its destructive impact on the body. But Ser Davos chose to keep his faith in Melisandre. Against such odds, what other choice does he have? Welcome to the life of an NYCFC fan, a life in which misplaced faith is still a bit better than no faith at all.
And now his post is ended.