Programming note: Watch San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas live tonight at 5:30 PT on Comcast Sportsnet California.
FC Dallas still sits atop the Western Conference despite suffering its first loss in more than two months its last time out. To avoid another one, it will have to deal with a foe it's struggled against in recent years.
Dallas plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
Dallas' 24 points are tied with New York for the league's best total. The club's 20 goals are also tied for the MLS lead.
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But as good as Dallas (7-2-3) has been this year, it has won just twice in the last 17 meetings with San Jose - most recently in June 2010. That victory was Dallas' only one in its last 11 home games against the Earthquakes.
Coach Schellas Hyndman's team is coming off a 4-2 loss at Seattle last Saturday that ended a nine-match unbeaten streak.
The club was without captain David Ferreira for the second straight match due to a hamstring injury, while Andrew Jacobson and George John each missed their third in a row with knee injuries.
Hyndman said he expects all three to play Saturday. Ferreira has a goal and three assists in 10 matches, while Jacobson and John each have two goals each.
Against Seattle, Dallas seemed to particularly miss John as it surrendered four goals for the first time since March 30, 2012.
"He's one of our best defenders and I also think he's one of the better defenders in the league," Hyndman told the league's official website. "He's strong, experienced and he organizes the defense."
San Jose (3-4-6) has won just once in its last nine, with last Saturday's 1-all final against Colorado its fifth draw in that stretch.
The Earthquakes were 8-3-2 through 13 matches last season on the way to claiming the Supporters' Shield with 66 points.
"On one hand, we can say, 'OK, we're not getting beat.' That's a positive. But we like to think we should be winning these matches," defender Jason Hernandez told the league's official website. "It's good not to be losing matches, but at the same time, we expect a lot from ourselves. And we expect to win games. That's the attitude we're always going to have."
San Jose has been particularly bad on the road with an 0-3-2 record after going 10-5-3 away from home last season. Saturday marks the first of four straight MLS road matches.
"We were really good on the road last season. This team knows how to win on the road so not much will change in our form to get our first road win of the season," forward Alan Gordon said. "We put ourselves in a position that we need to return home with some points and I am positive we will do so."
Chris Wondolowski also has not performed at nearly the same level he did last year, scoring five goals and none in the last two matches.
The reigning league leader in goals (27) found the net 12 times in his first 13 matches last season.