Chris Leitch has had a tumultuous 2010 campaign, but the finally-healthy veteran defender is set to make his second-consecutive start for San Jose when the Quakes host FC Dallas on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Leitch started and played a full 90 in a 2-1 Quakes win against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, his first action since a July 17 friendly against club partner Tottenham Hotspur.
"It's easy to come back to a team when they're playing well," Leitch said. "The Dynamo game was a bit tough because 90 minutes in Houston is a bit different than 90 minutes anywhere else, but hopefully this week will be a bit better and by our next game I'll be 100-percent as far as fitness goes."
San Jose's ever-evolving back four will go unchanged this weekend. Leitch will start on the right, Brandon McDonald and Jason Hernandez in the center and Tim Ward on the left. With Leitch and Ward available, Bobby Convey expects to return to his natural spot at left mid.
Tim Ward and Brandon McDonald trained on Friday and are expected to play against FC Dallas. Ward practiced for a second-straight day after spraining his ankle against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday. McDonald sat out Thursday's training session with a hamstring issue.
Missing from practice were Khari Stephenson and Scott Sealy. Stephenson is still recovering from an injury suffered in Sunday's match.
Quakes players and coaches can feel the playoff heat. With nine games left on the schedule, San Jose finds itself tip-toeing the post-season line.
"We're definitely doing a little scoreboard watching," Quakes defender Bobby Burling said. "It's going to be a fight to the finish and we know that. Our win on Sunday was huge for us, but we can't get comfortable."
Robbie Findley gave Quakes fans another reason to dislike him Thursday night.
Findley missed a penalty in the 32nd minute of what turned into a scoreless draw between Real Salt Lake and Sounders FC. An RSL win would have been desirable to the Quakes, the No. 8 seed in the playoff race. Although Seattle has played three more matches than San Jose, the Sounders are one point ahead in the overall standings.
Another result of interest for Quakes fans was the scoreless draw between Chicago and Toronto FC. Both teams are currently below the playoff cutline and could have used a full three points.