San Jose Earthquakes may look for answers outside own roster after latest defeat to Chivas USA

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – No MLS club has scored fewer goals this season that San Jose, so it's no surprise that the Earthquakes now find themselves in the cellar of the Western Conference. And after a loss to Chivas USA Wednesday, their third straight 1-0 defeat in league play, head coach Mark Watson and his team are searching for answers.

"It's hard to look at positives when you lose at home, but I thought there were some good moments in the game," Watson said. "It was a slow start, but we worked our way into the game, and moved the ball well at times and created chances in the first half.

"We were probably in terms of the play, the better team, but it's not about that; it's about finishing your chances and not conceding. We gave up a sloppy goal. In the end they scored one and we didn't."

San Jose have certainly faced some challenges recently. With leading scorer Chris Wondolowski away on US national team duty since mid-May, and leading assist man Shea Salinas sidelined with an ongoing abdominal ailment, they've had to juggle their lineup repeatedly in search of some offense.

Against Chivas USA, this meant Khari Stephenson saw time up top; in other games Sam Cronin has played a more advanced role than usual.

"We had to change things around for various reasons once again, but I thought for that group being thrown together there were some good moments and some positive things, but not enough. In the end, it's about winning games," Watson said.

"The transfer window opens on July 8 and we're looking [for new talent]. We need to get better. We need to have more competition in the squad for places."

One thing that should help boost San Jose's attack is the return of Wondolowski from the World Cup in Brazil, and barring any unforseen circumstances, he will be in the Earthquakes' lineup when they face D.C. United on July 11.

"He'll be welcomed back," Watson said. "He's obviously a big part of this team and scores a lot of goals. We as a group were very proud at what he was doing [with the national team] but it'll be nice to have him back."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Jon Busch voiced his team's frustrations with their current plight.

"This [game] is one we needed, and we knew that," he said. "We're playing well at times, and defensively we're playing very well. It just seems the last couple of games, one play is the difference. You look at tonight, we handled what they had, then they got two guys on the back post on one play, and they scrambled and knocked it in.

He did, however, offer an alternative viewpoint to his coach's assessment that help was needed from outside the roster.

"We've got enough quality in this locker room to win games. I don't care who's injured, or who's healthy, it's never an excuse. We have enough quality. We, on the field, have to find a way to get results, period." 

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