SANTA CLARA -- Jon Busch needed a moment after the Earthquakes' dismal 1-0 defeat Wednesday night to Chivas USA.
The usually talkative goalkeeper buried his hands in his head at his locker as he reflected on San Jose's third consecutive 1-0 defeat in Major League Soccer play. That pretty much sums up that state of the somber San Jose locker room these days.
If the Earthquakes (4-7-4) haven't hit the bottom yet then it's going to get ugly. Real ugly. "This is one we needed," Busch said. "We knew that."
The regular season doesn't end until October, but it feels as if it is slipping away after a lackluster result in front of an announced crowd of 9,114 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"We're a very disappointed group right now," coach Mark Watson said. "We've got to figure out a way to turn things around."
Watson hinted for the first time the team is searching for help when the FIFA transfer window opens next week. But overall, team officials say they have enough quality players -- if they could keep them healthy. Injuries contributed to the problems Wednesday as starting center back Clarence Goodson (groin) and midfielders Shea Salinas (abdominal) and Atiba Harris (hamstring) were unavailable.
"It feels like we're always trying to scramble to put things together," Watson said.
The team did not show enough spark to break out of its slump and this time fell to lowly Chivas USA while dropping to the bottom of the Western Conference. The defeat allowed Chivas (4-7-5) to move into eighth place in the nine-team division.
For the third consecutive game, an opponent patiently waited for San Jose to implode. The downhill slide continued in the 52nd minute with a defensive breakdown that led to Erick Torres' 11th goal of the season. Torres, from Mexico, collected a serve from Mauro Rosales in front of the goal when defenders failed shift with the ball. He blew it past Busch inside the near post. Torres is now tied for the second-most goals in MLS with Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City. Bradley Wright-Phillips of New York Red Bulls leads with 12.
"It seems one play is the difference," Busch said of the consecutive shutouts.
The veteran keeper who is enjoying a standout season dismissed the notion that lineup changes have caused the current mess. "It doesn't matter," he said. "We've got enough quality in this locker room. I don't care who is injured, who is healthy. Us players have to find a way to get results."
The Quakes had better possession against Chivas than last weekend against the Galaxy. But San Jose failed to put Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy under much pressure. The Quakes need leading scorer Chris Wondolowski, who has been with the U.S. World Cup team since mid-May. San Jose fell to 2-4 without its captain.
But not even Wondolowski can save this group unless it figures out how to penetrate an opposing midfield.
"Everyone in here is frustrated," center back Ty Harden said. "But this team never gives up."
The defender who got his sixth consecutive start did the math. "We're only six points out of a playoff spot," Harden added. "There's no reason we can't make a run."
Follow Elliott Almond on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
JULY 11 GAME
DC United (7-5-4)
at Earthquakes (4-7-4),
8 p.m. NBCSN