SAN JOSE -- The Earthquakes have used their bye week to heal in mind, body and spirit.

The banged-up veteran squad has little to show for its first three MLS games -- no wins and one point in the standings. Another stumble April 13 against the Columbus Crew at Buck Shaw Stadium would conjure up images of a staggering 3-6-6 start in 2013.

Plus, they've had all week to chew on a clumsy 2-1 home loss to the New England Revolution.

Is the pressure to win building?

"You try not to think about it," said forward Billy Schuler, who could see his first MLS action against the Crew. "It's been a long start to the season, with how much we've been traveling and how much we've been playing. Everyone's going to be really ready for the next game, ready to get the first win. It will definitely kick-start us."

Health continues to be a big key on a squad with 10 players who are at least 30 years old.

With a deep roster, coach Mark Watson has viable options if the spotty performances and injuries compound. Newcomer Yannick Djalo, who had a bright cameo against New England, is being groomed for a greater role.

The Quakes (0-2-1) can ill afford to keep leaving points on the table, especially at home, or falling behind.

They've trailed at halftime in their first two home games -- a 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake and a 2-1 defeat to New England, the latter coming with a gift-wrapped own goal by Victor Bernardez that gave the Revolution a 1-0 lead.


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"That's certainly not the plan," Watson said of the team's tendency to wake up after conceding a goal. "Credit it to our guys, they do respond well when in that situation, but the plan is to go up a goal and then to maintain that, and to score another goal. We talk about starting well, especially at home, and having energy."

Schuler and fellow 23-year-old Adam Jahn are expected to see increased roles up front, with target forward Steven Lenhart out with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Alan Gordon, who has been spelling Lenhart, is now set to start in his spot.

Bernardez's own goal was fit for ESPN's "Not Top 10" feature on "SportsCenter." It came after a sliding Jordan Stewart, on a miscommunication with keeper Jon Busch, kicked the ball toward his own net on the slippery surface. The retreating Bernardez had time for a clearance but lost his footing and flubbed the ball into the net.

The bye week comes at a good time for the team's hobbled outside backs. Stewart (hamstring) soldiered on through the Revolution match at less than 100 percent after only two days of practice.

"The last 20 minutes I was starting to feel a bit tired," Stewart said. "At the end of the week as well, I was on antibiotics because I had a fever, which didn't help.

"I'm not going to say that's an excuse for my performance. It was just a case of me wanting to ease my way into the game and last the whole 90 minutes."

APRIL 13 game

Columbus (3-0-0) at Earthquakes (0-2-1), noon, CSN-Plus