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Put away the protest planes! The Rapids made the playoffs!

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The Rapids have come a long way since last year.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids’ fans are in unfamiliar territory. Not only are the boys in burgundy heading for the playoffs, they are a couple stumbles by FC Frisco (FC Dallas) away from having a legitimate shot at the Supporters’ Shield. With four games left and two games in hand over FC Dallas, Rapids fans have every reason to see a strong ending to this season. Two games against Houston, one home game against San Jose (10/13 at 7:00 pm), and one against Portland (10/16 at 3:00 pm at Portland) = a legitimate shot for 6-9 points to end the season with 60 points!

But they need to take care of one game at a time.

Which makes me remember the end of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The fact we’re having conversations about the Rapids contending for the best record in MLS would have been laughable if someone said this would happen at the end of last season. What a debacle! Here are some reasons why I’m thankful the Rapids made the playoffs — and they have nothing to do with what happens on the field.

  1. That protest plane (hopefully) stays in the hangar. Look, I understand the need for fans to express their angst at the performance on the field, especially at how bad the Rapids performed at the end of the previous two seasons. But which was more embarrassing: the play on the field, or having the plane fly over the game adding more insult to injury? Fans will cheer, fans will protest. Personally, I hope that plane stays in the hangar.
  2. The general placidity on social media. Human nature tends to be more vocal when filled with anxiety and anger. The Rapids’ good run of form this year has left comments on social media at minimum. Sure, August and early September brought out some of the concerns, but all in all, it’s been much quieter. Please understand, I do not begrudge fans taking issues with bad runs of form. Social media gives us a chance to put on our GM hats and solve the Rapids’ problems with our expertise (and no, that’s not sarcasm, for Rapids fans have some great insights that are usually correct). But still, that’s been nice that folks have put away their swords.

What Still Needs Discussing?

  1. Pablo Mastroeni’s future. He still hasn’t signed a contract extension that would take him into next year. Even with the turnaround, it’s not a given that Mastroeni will return. He’s improved greatly in areas, but concerns over tactics still linger. Do you think Mastroeni will return in 2017?
  2. Will the Rapids move Kevin Doyle? He hasn’t produced. He may do better in a 4-4-2 scheme with Shkelzen Gashi joining him up top, but this would go against Mastroeni’s penchant for a defensive scheme. Doyle has not been the answer as a lone striker.
  3. The future of Jermaine Jones. In the few games he’s played with the Rapids, he clearly improved their play. Will he come back? With him turning 37 soon, will he be fit and ready for 2017 to anchor the midfield? Will we ever see Jones play again for the Rapids? Will it be the playoffs or next year? Or ever?

The change from the end of 2015 and now gives us whiplash. Fine. Let us enjoy the ride! And keep those protest planes grounded!