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Colorado Rapids head coach Steve Cooke ...
David Zalubowski, The Associated Press
Colorado Rapids head coach Steve Cooke looks on in the first half of an MLS soccer match against Real Salt Lake, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Commerce City, Colo.
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Dominque Badji stood at the penalty spot with a chance to equalize for the Rapids with his 10th goal of the season — a benchmark he set for himself before the season. The Rapids were up a man and poised to spoil the Sounders’ chances at a first round playoff bye.

Instead, Badji’s shot banged off the post. Moments later, the Rapids gave up a penalty kick of their own, defender Axel Sjoberg was sent off with a red card, and Colorado eventually fell 3-0 in Seattle on Sunday.

It was a fitting end to a dreadful season that saw the Rapids (9-19-6, 33 points) go from second best in the West a year ago to second worst. The Rapids fired coach Pablo Mastroeni on Aug. 15, citing a poor record, philosophical differences in opinion and a lack of goal scoring.

After Sunday’s finale, interim coach Steve Cooke told reporters in Seattle that he thanked his players for the way they rallied together late in the season despite having little to play for.

“In a season like this that hasn’t always gone the way you would’ve liked…certainly in the last seven or eight games they’ve given absolutely everything,” Cooke said. “It speaks to the character of the people, especially the senior players. I just had special words there for Alan Gordon, Bobby Burling and even Tim Howard.”

Just a year ago, the Rapids went unbeaten at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, setting an MLS record for fewest goals allowed at home. This past season they allowed 51 goals, 19 more than a year ago.

“You know it is a bit of a roller coaster, night and day from the previous year,” Burling told reporters in Seattle. “Going through a coaching change is never easy, and a credit to the staff that took over to keep pushing this thing to the end. We had some decent results at home to finish the year. Some young guys got some good minutes at the end of the year.”

Interim general manager Padraig Smith faces a number of decisions as the Rapids enter the offseason.

First and foremost will be hiring a head coach. Cooke is in the mix to land the job, and last month a source told The Denver Post that the Rapids had been in contact with at least four other candidates, including former Venezuela national team coach César Farías.

Rapids spokesman Ryan Madden said the team hoped to have a coach in place by the beginning of November.

Colorado will also have a number of roster decisions to make. Veterans Gordon and Burling could become free agents. Homegrown midfielder Dillon Serna had his contract expire, but the Rapids said last week they’re in negotiations with him.

The Rapids will have some roster flexibility after opening up a designated player slot this season with the mutual termination of Juan Ramirez’s contract. They’ve also freed up some money with the retirement of Kevin Doyle, who was earning more than $1 million per season, according to the MLS players union.

With the Rapids missing the playoffs, Smith will also have additional allocation money at his disposal to bolster an offense that scored just 31 goals, tied for the fewest in MLS with D.C. United.

The MLS Cup playoffs begin Wednesday with Colorado at home for the third time in four seasons.

“Unfortunately I’m going to be sitting back watching it,” Cooke said. “And trying to learn as much as I can in that period as we’ll be building for our offseason.”

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