SANTA CLARA -- The Earthquakes changed lineups and complexion Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.

But they couldn't change the result or the misfortune that has left the team spiraling two months into the Major League Soccer season.

Despite a season-high 15 shots, San Jose settled for another scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids in front of 9,388 fans that included Warriors star Stephen Curry.

This one was difficult to accept for the Quakes (1-3-4) after a severe injury to defender Andreas Gorlitz.

The German fullback probably suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee at the end of the first half when Rapids striker Charles Eloundou gave him a body check on a charge toward the goal.

The Earthquakes will know more after Gorlitz undergoes an MRI exam.

"A knee injury like that makes my stomach turn," captain Chris Wondolowski said.

After a scoreless tie with the Rapids last month in Colorado, the Quakes desperately needed to win both games of a homestand this week. They now will try to get their second victory of the season Saturday night against visiting FC Dallas.

The Earthquakes might be kicking themselves over this one. Wondolowski was.

The Danville native punched a shot on frame that diving goalkeeper Chris Irwin nicked before it hit the far post with three minutes left as the fourth-place Rapids (4-2-4) escaped.

"It got a little bit underneath me," the team's leading scorer said of the ball. "But I didn't do well enough."

For the third time in four games, the defense shut out an opponent. But for once, the shots came from multiple angles.

"It is a little more of what our team is like," coach Mark Watson said of the overall effort that left him encouraged.

It was at least possible to imagine the team as a playoff contender in the Western Conference.

But Wondolowski was in no mood for morale boosters. With almost a quarter of the season done, he expects more from himself and his teammates.

"We can't take little steppingstones," Wondolowski said. "We've got to take some big leaps, otherwise we'll get passed up."

Perhaps Watson found something that will help shake the Quakes out of their doldrums.

He rested central midfielders Sam Cronin and rookie JJ Koval, calling on Khari Stephenson and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi. Both played well as San Jose had better ground control than any time this season.

"It was purposeful possession," said Stephenson, who got his first MLS start of 2014.

Pierazzi said his improved play was the result of being healthy for the first time. He said he had suffered tendinitis in his left foot, making it difficult to kick the ball.

Watson was forced to make one unexpected change when center back Clarence Goodson suffered a shin bruise in practice Tuesday. The coach said Goodson might play Saturday. After that, the defender is expected to join the U.S. national team in training camp at Stanford.

But Goodson's replacement -- Ty Harden -- played smart and strong as the back line made it difficult on the Rapids.

It didn't seem the Earthquakes would be denied in the second half but they couldn't solve Irwin, who had seven total saves.

Saturday's game
FC Dallas (5-4-1) at Earthquakes (1-3-4), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA