For the first time in a long while, the Seattle Sounders finished a MLS season without a trophy to add to the locker.
Because of that, the team might be making some more changes than they have in previous season.
Despite exiting the playoffs early yet again, the Sounders have previously relied upon their three straight Open Cup championships to add to the mantle. This year, however, the Sounders' run in the Open Cup ended with a loss to Sporting KC. As a result, the team didn't qualify for the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League, meaning the Sounders will play four fewer games on next year's schedule.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times says Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer might invest more in the Sounders' top 14 players and less in its depth. This year, the depth paid off handily as the Sounders dealt with multiple injuries and a schedule that saw the team play seven or more games in a month twice in the season.
A poor showing in the first leg of a series once again killed Seattle's playoff hopes. The Sounders lost 3-0 to the Galaxy in the away leg of the conference finals, eerily similar to 2011 when they lost 3-0 at Real Salt Lake in the playoffs.
As Sigi Schmid told Tim Booth of the Associated Press, the Sounders have shown slight improvement in the playoffs with every exit each year.
"The progress is, for me, the last six playoff games we've played last year and this year, we've won three. We've won three, we've tied one, we've lost two. The problem is the ones we lose, we lose three-nothing and we bury ourselves with that loss, but we're winning 50 percent more of our playoff games. We're showing the capabilities that we can win games, we just need to eliminate the losses by the size they are."
The offseason will be one with a few questions for the Sounders. Forward Eddie Johnson was brought in on a one-year deal and more than did enough to warrant another contract, scoring 17 goals and earning himself a call-up to the U.S. men's national team.
Meanwhile, forward Fredy Montero, who burst onto the soccer scene as a Sounder, continued his struggles during the playoffs lending some to wonder whether or not the team will bring him back.
Either way, Hanauer told Mayers the next few days would be "a bit of an autopsy" and that the team won't be the same as next year, because that is the way soccer world works.