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Chicago Fire vs. NYRB, 2 p.m. CT, Unimas/My50, GAMETHREAD

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Fire return home to cold, blustery Toyota Park, where they hope to keep Gotham New Jersey's worst winless all-time

Matt Watson will get his second consecutive start today for the Fire.
Matt Watson will get his second consecutive start today for the Fire.

THREE POINTS! Today's about three points. This is not a 90-minute referendum on style of play. It's not about truth, or beauty, or transcendence.* It's about winning, one possession at a time. It's about finishing the damned game with more goals than the Energy Drink Connoisseurs. It's about not bringing a knife to a gun fight.

As I said earlier today, I've got significant issues with anxiety before most games; this one is no different. However, the starting lineup Frank Yallop is running out there is doing a lot to calm my fears:

Johnson; Watson, Soumare, Hurtado, Cochrane; Shipp, Larentowicz (c), Alex, Joya; Amarikwa, Magee.

This lineup is listed as a 4-4-2, but - if the best passages of play from last Sunday are to be believed - it's likely to play more like an ultra-modern 4-6-0. If it's working well, Magee and Amarikwa should be playing games with the space in the back, while Shipp and Joya pinch in. Especially watch for Shipp to make use of the acres of space Magee creates with every run.

I'm also encouraged to see Watson get more minutes. I'm not sure how he'll do at right back, but last week's performance in Portland deserved more than a ticket straight back to the bench. And he's got to be better there than Patrick Ianni would be. We've heard nothing but good things about Cochrane. Hard thing about sports is, it's a put-up-or-shut-up business. Today's the day, guys. Get 'er done.

As always, chime in here with predictions and sarcasm. I'll be chipping in as much as much obsessive note-taking allows. My prediction: Chicago 3-1 NYRB; Fire goals for Shipp, Magee and Amarikwa; NY gets another from Henry.

* Unless, of course, it turns out to be about some or all of those things, in which case I will claim to have totally, like totally seen it coming.