Gavin Wilkinson: Timbers targeting 3 to 4 starting-caliber players for 2019

The Portland Timbers fell just short in their quest for the 2018 MLS Cup, and work is already underway for the 2019 season.

Timbers president and general manager Gavin Wilkinson joined the "Timbers in 30" show this week, discussing the disappointment of losing MLS Cup to Atlanta United, but also looking ahead to next year.

Wilkinson explained the need to take care of the players returning from the 2018 roster while also looking to improve for next year. He talked about the newcomers already signed for next season, Venezuelan midfielder Renzo Zambrano and Costa Rican forward Marvin Loria, who impressed this year at Portland's USL team, T2.

Most notably, Wilkinson outlined the priority for the offseason.

"Without going into positions, I would say we need three to four players who can challenge for starting spots," he said. "For us, it's a matter of strengthening, creating balance, more competition within the group."

He added that Portland could make a Designated Player signing in the coming weeks, based on the permutations on the current roster.

"We have the ability to move Lucas [Melano] from a Designated Player spot to a TAM, and that does open up a Designated Player spot. You expect that DP within the team to be an effective player for the organization, somebody that can help us win, someone that may contribute to goals but somebody that will obviously give us a little bit more talent in a needed position."