After an unlikely source provided a boost with top scorer Chris Wondolowski away, the San Jose Earthquakes now hope to overcome their ongoing struggles on the road.
FC Dallas, meanwhile, hasn't been able to get much going offensively in any venue during its lengthy winless streak.
The short-handed Earthquakes seek their third victory in four games as they try to beat FC Dallas for the second time in three weeks Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
San Jose (3-4-4) managed one shot on goal in a 1-0 loss at Seattle on May 17 in its first match after Wondolowski, who has a team-high five goals, left to train with the U.S. team for the World Cup. The Earthquakes, however, bounced back with their highest-scoring performance since the season opener Sunday when Khari Stephenson broke a lengthy scoring drought with a career-high two goals in a 3-0 home win over Houston.
The Jamaican midfielder hadn't scored since June 8 against Los Angeles while he was with Real Salt Lake. Stephenson totaled just three goals in 47 matches from 2012-13.
Moving back to a wide midfield role, former Dallas forward Atiba Harris added his first goal since June 29. Steven Lenhart (knee), Alan Gordon (groin) and Shea Salinas (suspension) also gave the team some solid play as they returned.
"I think everyone knows the situation, and everyone's giving a little bit extra knowing that Wondo scores most of our goals," coach Mark Watson told the team's official website. "I think they've taken that on themselves to try to do that as a unit."
Though the Earthquakes are 3-0-2 in their last five at home, they've gone 0-3-1 on the road while getting shut out three times.
San Jose, tied for the fewest goals in the Western Conference with 13, now tries to break through on the road against a Dallas team it defeated 2-1 in Santa Clara on May 10. Cordell Cato had his first goal off an assist from former Dallas defender Clarence Goodson, then current Dallas defender David Texeira gave San Jose a second-half own goal.
The Earthquakes may not need much scoring to win their third straight in this series. Though Dallas (5-6-3) is third in MLS with 22 goals, it hasn't scored more than once in any contest during its current 0-5-2 winless streak.
Dallas was shut out for the second time during that stretch in last Saturday's draw at Salt Lake.
"We're going to take the positives out of this for sure, and try to build for a little home stretch that we can build off this with," goalkeeper Chris Seitz said.
Brazilian defender Michel scored Dallas' lone tally in the first meeting with San Jose. He has a team-leading five goals, but his status is uncertain after missing the last two games with a hamstring strain.
Dallas is still without Hendry Thomas (muscle tear), Mauro Diaz (knee surgery), George John (knee) and Kellyn Acosta (patella fracture). Andres Escobar (back) is expected to be a game-time decision.
San Jose defenders Victor Bernardez (international duty) and Tommy Muller (back spasms) are out.
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- San Jose Earthquakes
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- Chris Wondolowski