Carson, CA (Sports Network) - The San Jose Earthquakes won six of their first eight games last season en route to claiming the Supporters' Shield.
But so far this term, the club has earned only two wins from its first eight games, due in large part to a rash of injuries.
On Saturday, San Jose will attempt to put an end to a four-match winless run when the club visits The Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA.
The Earthquakes are coming off of a home-and-home with the Portland Timbers that yielded just one point, and only after a last-gasp equalizer from Adam Jahn.
It's safe to say the Earthquakes have yet to hit the heights of last season, but the club has also not been as healthy as it will be on Saturday.
Head coach Frank Yallop said this week that he expects both Marvin Chavez and Steven Beitashour to be in the starting lineup, which would give the boss his strongest team yet this year.
Defender Jason Hernandez is the only first-choice player still sidelined by injury, while forward Alan Gordon will be serving the second of a four-match ban.
Forward Chris Wondolowski has managed just three goals so far this year, and he feels that the return to health of Beitashour and Chavez will help a sputtering attack that has netted only two goals in the last four games.
"It's huge," Wondolowski said of the return of Beitashour and Chavez. "It stretches defenses, it makes them have to extend themselves, too. They have to step out there. They can't just keep backtracking and clear balls away."
Chivas got off to a surprisingly good start with three wins in its first five games, but back-to-back 1-0 defeats have left the Goats in fourth place in the Western Conference.
It's not as though Chivas didn't have chances in both games. In fact, the club failed to convert from the penalty spot in each game as Jose Correa hit the crossbar in a loss to the Rapids before Edgar Mejia had his kick saved by Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
"It's not something we need to necessarily focus energy on, but it's something we're doing just in case," forward Tristan Bowen said about his team practicing spot kicks. "It's good to just do it. Guys get their confidence, even though it's different when you do it in a practice than in a game. But the coaches get a chance to see who's really comfortable hitting it."
San Jose went 2-0-1 against Chivas last season, but defender Carlos Borja feels his team is still in a good place despite suffering successive setbacks.
"We know we're in a good spot," Borja told MLSsoccer.com. "There are little things we have to tune. We've been in games, but we've needed the little things to tie or win games. We're there. I'm not worried and nobody else is."