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MLS Cup Is Over, Bring On 2014

With Sporting Kansas City winning their second MLS Cup last weekend, the Major League Soccer off-season has officially begun. What does that mean for Rapids fans?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

After watching a thrilling MLS Cup Championship waged by Sporting Kansas City (congrats to our friends to the East for winning the cup) and Real Salt Lake, the 2013 MLS Season has officially come to a close. For Colorado Rapids fans this supercharges the talk and the optimism heading into 2014. And although the Rapids were not involved in the festivities in Kansas City, there was plenty of Rapids related news:

A New Soccer Club in Colorado - It was reported last week that Colorado Springs will be getting a USL Pro franchise to start play in 2015. This is certainly great news for soccer supporters in Colorado Springs, but more importantly it is a benefit for the region as a whole. Major League Soccer as mandated that every team either field a team in USL Pro by 2015 or affiliate with a team in that league. With an USL Pro club just a drive down Interstate 25 it makes worlds of sense to affiliate with this new team. Plus for supporters in the Springs it allows them the ability to easily see such players like Davy Armstrong, Kory Kindle and Brenton Griffiths who may not necessarily get first team minutes on a regular basis.

Comings and Goings - There certainly was some interesting news on the player front as Jaime Castrillon, Diego Calderon, and Steward Ceus all left the club. For Calderon, he went back home and after his injury plagued year, you can't hardly blame him. Castrillon got caught up in the Rapids youth movement that was necessitated by injuries like his knee issue that kept him out for the better part of half a season. When looking forward to 2014, it was tough to see him moving into the Starting XI. And poor Ceus. A horrible mistake in the FC Dallas game to start the year wrecked his year and his performance against Orlando City SC did not help at all. Oh, and then there was the emergence of Clint Irwin as the Rapids starting goalkeeper.

Sign or Not Sign -
News dropped that Martin Rivero and Hendry Thomas are unsigned for 2014. Thomas was a key cog in the defensive wheel and best efforts should be made to sign him for 2014 and beyond. Rivero is a bit more difficult of a decision. He was very good in 2012, but the injury problems did derail his year in 2013. That being said, if the price is right, signing him to a long term deal should be a priority. He has that something special when healthy and I still want to see him take the field on a consistent basis with Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres.