Joined MLS in 1996
MLS Cup: Winner 2010, Runners Up 1997
Supporters’ Shield: Runners Up 2016
U.S. Open Cup: Runners Up 1993
Western Conference: Winners 1997
Eastern Conference: Winners 2010
The Colorado Rapids began in the inaugural season of the MLS in 1996. They got off to a rocky start, finishing the ’96 season last in the Western Conference with the lowest points total in the league. Their second season went much better, as they managed to earn a playoff spot and made it all the way to the MLS Cup final where they lost 2-1 to DC United.
The next three seasons would bring about comparable results, finishing third, fourth, and third in the ’98, ’99, and ’00 seasons respectively. They were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the playoffs each season, but did manage to make it to the U.S. Open Cup final in the ’99 season where they were shocked with a 2-0 defeat by second-tier side Rochester Rhinos.
The ’01 season was a transition season for the Rapids, as they fell under new management and brought a host of new players in including the Columbian Great Carlos Valderrama. In 2002 they debuted their new ground, Invesco Field at Mile High, and brought in a few future USMNT stars Kyle Beckerman and Pablo Mastroeni. In 2003 the club rebranded, adopting a black and blue colour scheme. That year they set the MLS record for lowest average goals-against at home over an entire season.
In 2004 the club were purchased by Kroenke Sports Enterprises, who brought about executive changes within the club and inconsistent form on the pitch. This inconsistency continued until the 2006 season when the club again rebranded to a burgundy and blue colour scheme. This same year they introduced a state of the art stadium complex, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, as well as introducing partnerships with Arsenal in the EPL, and Pachuca of Liga MX.
Enjoying mixed success through the 2009 season, the Rapids really broke out in the 2010 season. Despite a fifth-place finish in the Western Conference, they would go on to win the MLS Cup, after victories over San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference final and FC Dallas in the MLS Cup final.
With their win in the MLS Cup, the club were set to appear in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. The club didn’t make it out of the group stage, which they were automatically qualified for by winning the cup. Their MLS results didn’t really change, with the club consistently making the playoffs with the exception of the 2012 season where they only just missed out.
In 2014, under the guidance of a new head coach, the Rapids had one of their worst seasons on record, finishing 8th in the Western Conference. They would go on to finish 10th in 2015, only performing slightly better in their games but falling further in the Conference. The 2016 season would prove to be one of their best, with a second-place finish in the West, as well as making it to the semi-finals of the playoffs.
With the 2017 season coming to a close, the Rapids will not be able to look back on a successful campaign. Currently sitting tenth in the West on 30 points, this is easily one of the worst seasons in club history. Under the management of interim-coach Steve Cooke, the Rapids will have a lot of thinking to do while they watch the playoffs from their couches.