SAN JOSE -- Defender Clarence Goodson's return from a toe injury remains at least a month away, Earthquakes coach Mark Watson said Wednesday.

The star center back expects to be in a walking boot for two more weeks, then hopes he need only 14 days to get ready to play.

"We're looking at the first week of October," Watson said.

Goodson, one of the final cuts from the U.S. World Cup team this summer, has not played since July 11. San Jose (6-10-7) has missed his stabilizing influence in allowing 10 goals in the past three games. The eighth-place Quakes hope to get the defense fixed by Saturday for their game against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium.

They will have to do it without Goodson, 32, who has appeared in only 10 Major League Soccer games this season because of injuries and national team duty.

"He's had an issue with his toe for a while," Watson said. "It just flared up to the point where he couldn't move and play. It was painful."

Watson hopes strikers Yannick Djalo and Steven Lenhart will be available by mid-September, if not sooner. Djalo, 28, suffered a right quadriceps muscle strain in the Quakes' last victory, against Seattle at Levi's Stadium. Lenhart, who has appeared in 10 games this season, had surgery on his balky right knee Aug. 1. The 6-1 target forward practiced with the team Wednesday as he continues to work himself into game shape.


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Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.