Carl Robinson - Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Close up
USA Today Sports Images

Vancouver Whitecaps prepare for roster makeover ahead of 2018 season

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Vancouver Whitecaps crashed out of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs at the Conference Semifinal stage for the second time in three seasons. Now, head coach Carl Robinson knows he needs to make changes if he is to get the team to the next level i 2019.

So how much turnover we can expect to see from the Whitecaps this offseason? "Lots," Robinson answered succinctly.

"We have to do it," Robinson told reporters this week, of a massive roster shake-up. "I think we're at a point in time where we're always looking to improve the quality. The league is becoming better and better, the standard of player coming in is better, so we have to evolve. It's important you keep hunger, freshness, but we've got the nucleus of a really good squad."

The indications are that as many as 10 players may be moving on, and those decisions will likely see some fan favorites and long-time servants depart.

"The club have to make some difficult decisions, and we will," Robinson said. "There's no emotion involved. We're all humans. We're here to win. It's about finding the balance of winning, but doing things correctly. Be better squad-wise, be better team-wise."

Goalkeeper David Ousted has already confirmed he won't be back next season, and it looks like a defensive stalwart these past several years, Jordan Harvey, may also leave, as he is set to become a free agent.

"Up in the air," Harvey said of his current status with the 'Caps. "I'm at the end of my contract but we'll see what happens. We're in talks right now, so it's kind of, ball's in their court."

Another player with a big question mark hanging over him is Brek Shea.

The 'Caps Designated Player had four goals and four assists in his first MLS season in Vancouver, but Robinson primarily used him as a substitute -- not the ideal role for a big-money player. Shea is unsure if he'll be a Whitecap next season, but feels he has a lot more to give.

"I'd be happy to come back," Shea said. "I feel like I can bring more. I feel like I could have done more this year, but hopefully I come back with a better mentality and hopefully do more than I did this year."

Ousted's departure already clears up a chunk of salary space. If the 'Caps can't get a deal done to bring Fredy Montero back, and Harvey, Shea, and others also move on, then Robinson suddenly has a lot of money, DP slots, and at least one international roster spot to play with.

As for what new additions may be coming to Vancouver, Robinson revealed he already has his key targets in mind and will be traveling this offseason for some potential deals. 

"I know who I want to try and sign now, but obviously they're contracted to clubs and are in situations," Robinson revealed. "But I will be going scouting to probably three or four different countries. I've got my targets that we want now, and if we can add three, four players to what we've got already, the core group of players, we'll be fine."

Stay connected: The all-new, completely redesigned, FREE official MLS app is your best mobile source for scores, news, analysis and highlights. Download:  App Store  |  Google Play