The San Jose Earthquakes are searching for answers offensively without their captain, though they might not need much scoring Friday night given the way they’re playing at home.
The Earthquakes will try to end their drought while avoiding their longest losing streak of the season when they face the road-challenged Houston Dynamo.
Chris Wondolowski, tied for second in MLS with a team-high nine goals, had scored in five of his previous seven matches before leaving to play for the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
His absence has certainly hurt the Earthquakes, whose second-leading scorer, Sanna Nyassi, has two goals. San Jose suffered a 1-0 home loss to Los Angeles in U.S. Open Cup play July 1 in its first game without Wondolowski before falling 1-0 at Portland on Sunday.
The Earthquakes (7-6-4) were close to earning a point for the ninth time in 10 games before Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury scored in second-half stoppage time.
"Certainly to give up a goal in 90 minutes was harsh," defender Clarence Goodson told the team’s official website. "We should have gotten a tie, but it wasn’t meant to be and we’ll get back to work."
San Jose, which hasn’t dropped three straight across all competitions since October, has to find a way to generate some offense with Wondolowski, the former Dynamo striker, possibly gone for the rest of the month.
Help should to be on the way. Assist leader Matias Perez Garcia will likely return from a hamstring strain and Nyassi is eligible following a suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
San Jose hasn’t needed many goals at home, where it’s on a 3-0-2 streak in league play and has allowed a league-low four goals while posting three shutouts.
That might not bode well for the Dynamo, who have been blanked in their last two MLS road matches and three of the past four. They’re tied for the fewest away goals in the league with five while going 1-4-3 in such games.
Houston is 0-3-1 on the road since winning 2-1 at Toronto on May 10, and 1-3-2 in its past six MLS games overall.
"Unfortunately in this business you can’t always be a nice person," captain Brad Davis told the team’s official website after last Friday’s 1-all home draw with last-place Chicago. "Right now I think there’s questions on whether teams don’t like playing us."
Davis is also with the U.S. squad for the Gold Cup.
Will Bruin has a team-high seven goals and Giles Barnes six for the Dynamo (5-7-6), though Barnes won’t be available as he competes for Jamaica in the Gold Cup. Houston’s Oscar Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido (Honduras) and Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) are also playing in the tournament.
Adam Jahn scored in the Earthquakes’ 1-0 win at Houston on May 5. They’re 4-2-1 at home in the series since returning to the league in 2008 after the Dynamo moved from San Jose in 2006.