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A gut-wrenching end to a great season for the Colorado Rapids

The Colorado Rapids had such an impressive season, but there's still work to do in the offseason.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Seattle Sounders at Colorado Rapids Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids had such an impressive season, but Sunday’s Western Conference Final showed all the world there's still work to do in the offseason.

Even even with how the season ended, we cannot forget what a great season this was, and how many of us is Colorado Rapids fans enjoyed every minute of it. As long as I live, I will remember the excitement, the passion, and the camaraderie the fans experienced. We felt like our Burgundy Boys were in every game this year (except the NYCFC 5-1 debacle), and that gave us hope to make a deep run in the playoffs, which they did.

To be so to be so close to advancing to the MLS Cup is a difficult pill to swallow for many of us Rapids fans. Yes, I know we were picked to be last in the Western Conference this year, and I know the last two years have been absolutely dreadful, but I'm looking at 2016 on its own. Just knowing we had to win 1-0 to advance led most Rapids fans to like their chances. This was one of the few games that I honestly did not see the Rapids losing. We had our fans, we had altitude, a staunch defense, and at the end of the first half we had plenty of opportunities.

Disclosure: We had a family vacation already scheduled, so I couldn’t make this important game. Fortunately, I was in eastern Colorado on the way home and listened to Conor McGahey and Richard Fleming call the game on AM 950.

Here are my takeaways, first from this game, then for the offseason.

Those final balls

I was on I-225 around the Mile Marker 9 when Morris scored. I went numb. Numb. I didn’t get irate, just mouth-hanging-open numb. Why? Well, not only that our defense gave up a goal due to a poor clearance from Jared Watts, but I told my son, “Where will two goals come from with this team right now?” We both knew the answer. This team relied so much on clean sheets, that they would struggle for much of the season when they had to score. We have guys that can score, but we do not have that closer that you know will come through in a pinch.

The Rapids need a closer. The 1-0 games they won this year is too much of a tightrope to walk and could turn to 1-0 games against them next year. But having 16 shots without any being on target? Yikes! The Rapids Front Office did an incredible job upgrading the team and addressing needs. I sincerely believe our FO will not rest on their laurels, content with the playoff run the Rapids just finished. They have gone on record wanting MLS Cups and trophies. This offseason is a golden opportunity to ‘make good’ on those goals and promises.

It’s Too Soon To...

It’s too soon to go into much deeper analysis, such as which players should stay and go in order to continue the trajectory set in 2016. We saw from last year how the Columbus Crew went to the 2015 MLS Cup, but then almost scraped the basement this year. We cannot take for granted that our team will return to the playoffs.

But the offseason began around 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t too soon for Jermaine Jones to make his plans known (for a few minutes at least). Changes are already afoot.

But, again, thank you, Colorado Rapids players, coaches, front office and everyone who had a part in making this season truly a joy. We are proud of you all! Let’s make some noise in 2017. The fans will be there! Count on it.