GAMETHREAD: Fire v Union, MLS #5, 4 p.m. CT, My50, TWCSC

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Each team rocked by midweek trades that sent proven forwards packing; Chicago trying to win its first in 2014 in Fire's second home game

'Winless' is an epithet that's easy to ignore for a while - a week, a couple weeks, sure. It's early, right? No need to panic. Played some tough teams. But that patience isn't the natural state of things; it becomes a burden, an effort, the strain clearly visible on the grinning face of optimism.

Which is to say: That's about enough with the whole 'winless' thing.

Our Chicago Fire (0-3-1) will host Philadelphia (1-2-1) today at 4 p.m., and we're more than halfway through the period one might call 'the early season.' Today, the weather will be chilly but mild, and the pitch should be better, and the Fire need three points like I need coffee at 8 a.m. daily.

Each team dealt proven strikers this week. The Men in Red, of course, traded Chris Rolfe to DC United for allocation money; as the Ohioan got shuffled deeper into the attacking rotation, his contract became an issue, and so he was off to DC, who apparently have infinite allocation cash with which to pay proven MLS veterans. Yes, I'm sad about it. Yes, I understand it.

Philadelphia's big deal was spurred by head coach John Hackworth's sudden come-to-Jesus moment regarding the 4-3-3 formation. Jack McInerney is a poacher who thrives when he can ghost into space and finish half-chances; in the Union's new formation, the lone striker is essentially the opposite, robust and physically challenging. Andrew Wenger, who came the other way in the deal, plays both centerback and striker, if that gives you some idea of his 'style.'

AS ALWAYS, if you can't make it to Toyota Park, stay with us here for sarcasm, pathos and - hopefully, potentially - joy.

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