SAN JOSE -- Coach Mark Watson doesn't have ready-made solutions to lead the Earthquakes out of their worst stretch of the season, a four-game losing streak that puts them in last place in the Western Conference.
But he is trying.
"We had a similar scenario last year when we felt like we just weren't meant to win," Watson said. "We couldn't find a win."
The Quakes (4-8-4) look to reboot Saturday in Harrison, New Jersey, against the New York Red Bulls. Watson is experiencing the worst crisis since he took over from Frank Yallop a year ago. Pressure is mounting on a coach who led the team to a second-half resurgence last season but missed the playoffs in a tiebreaker to Colorado.
"It is a tough time, a disappointing time and a frustrating time," Watson said. "But there is only one way to get out of it: sticking together and working and fighting."
While the defense has been solid much of the time, San Jose has not scored enough to become a viable playoff contender. The Earthquakes have only 16 goals in 16 games, a dismal record compared with New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips, who got his 16th goal this week.
Quakes star Chris Wondolowski missed six games while representing the United States in the World Cup. But even with his team-leading six goals, the offense lacks creativity.
The most troubling statistic involves target forwards Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, who have a total of one assist and no goals in 1,450 minutes of action.
It might be overly simplistic to place all the blame on the "Bash Brothers." But their lack of production is jarring because it might represent fundamental flaws in the way the offense is constructed.
"We've got two seasoned veterans who have played a lot of years," Watson said. "They are two of the most frustrated people of anyone. Ultimately we have to score some goals and do whatever we have to do to have the goals start flying in."
Would Watson jettison the current alignment centered on a big forward with his back to the goal?
"We will look at any way possible to help the team and make them better," Watson said.
When pressed about making radical changes, the coach responded: "We're looking at any way to get better. I know what you're getting at. But that is what I am going to say."
Watson emphasized the problems aren't just his goal scorers.
"It is the goal scorers, but it is everyone," he said. "Other guys have to have production. Service is important as well. It is not just the final act of finishing. There is more to the story, and we're looking at everything."
The Quakes head to New York feeling they aren't far from getting it right. San Jose rebounded from a bad opening 25 minutes against D.C. United last week to play well in a 2-1 defeat.
The Red Bulls (5-6-8) serve as an example of how fast everything changes in Major League Soccer. They lost three in a row in May, then went 2-0-3 before losing Wednesday night at Philadelphia.
"It all starts with one," Wondolowski said. "You can't get three wins without one."
At this point, one victory would be nice for a team desperately hoping to reach the playoffs before opening an 18,000-seat stadium next year.
Wondolowski said teammates are united behind the effort without assigning blame.
"We're definitely backed into a corner right now," he said. "We're going to come out swinging."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
Earthquakes (4-8-4) at New York (5-6-8), 4 p.m. CSN-Plus