The Rapids nearly nabbed the Supporters Shield, and yet, there seems to be plenty of areas where they can improve for next season. So what should they do?
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
A true playmaker in the midfield
The Rapids had the best defense in the league, allowing just 32 goals in 34 regular season games. But they also had one of the lowest goal-scoring tallies in the league, and it hurt them when the playoffs arrived. The Rapids often asked Jermaine Jones to be their No. 10, which isn't the best fit, and now he is off to the LA Galaxy anyway. They need to find a true playmaker who can excel in the role, drive the attack and is younger than Jones' 35, too.
Isaiah J. DowningIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
A striker who can capitalize on chances
The Rapids didn't score a lot of goals, and while they could've used a better playmaker to create more chances, part of that is they don't have any truly exceptional goal-scorers. Midfielder Shkelzen Gashi has managed a few magic moments from long-range and led the team in goals, but it's a glaring symptom of the problem that there isn't a forward able to lead the way. They need a target striker with a nose for goal because Kevin Doyle just won't cut it.
Ron ChenoyRon Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Speedy, goal-scoring wingers
They don't really have many actual wingers on their roster, and while they are solid defensively, they aren't effective enough in transitioning to the attacking phase of the game. They need some speed on the flanks that can punish their opposition, whether it's through creating chances for a striker or scoring themselves.
Re-think the goalkeeper situation
Do the Rapids really need both Tim Howard and Zac MacMath? Maybe they do, since Tim Howard is 37 and seems increasingly prone to injury, but it's a bit of a waste to pay Howard what they pay him and have the perfectly capable MacMath as a backup. Howard wasn't a step up when he took over for MacMath in July, and Howard is a marketable name, but the acquisition has lost some of its luster over the past several months.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SporIsaiah J. Downing
Start attacking more and scoring more goals
The Rapids have a clear identity and that's great. They are a physical, defensive team and, compared to preseason expectations for the Rapids, their style got them astonishingly close to the Supporters Shield. But here's the thing: It's not that much fun to watch. It's a bit, dare we say, ugly even. Not every team needs to build out the back and play tiki-taka – there's no need for any soccer snobbery and there are no style points to be won. But some creativity in the attack and goals in 2017 would be a welcome addition to the physical, defensive way they already grind out results. Plus, as we saw in the playoffs, sometimes you need a Plan B.