St. Louis City SC picks 5 in MLS expansion draft – breaking down their picks

St. Louis City SC picks 5 in MLS expansion draft – breaking down their picks

St. Louis City SC took a major step in the build-up to their inauguration MLS Friday’s roster, selecting five players from other teams’ teams as part of their expansion draft. After a couple of exchanges following the election, here’s what the newcomers did during the dinner hour:

Finding your rock base

Ultimately, the main acquisition of St. Louis was available for selection in the expansion draft, but was headed to Missouri via trade. Parker is a bona fide top tier MLS starting center back who previously starred in the Vancouver Whitecaps i New York Red Bulls. The 13th overall pick in the 2015 SuperDraft built his stock in Vancouver before earning a trade to New York before the 2018 season. There, he partnered with the emerging center Aaron Long to build one of MLS’ best defensive partnerships of the decade, earning Parker both of his U.S. games so far.

Parker made 62 appearances with Houston in his two Texans seasons. However, the emergence of the 2021 first-round pick Ethan Bartlow alongside designated player Teenage Habede and veteran Daniel Steres it gave a club in transition a rare area of ​​strength from which to maneuver. While Parker’s $1,037,500 guaranteed salary in 2022 may have made it easier for him to unload from Houston, he arrived in St. Louis within TAM’s salary range and gives them a proven leader and capable backcourt anchor with plenty of years ahead of him at 29 years old. The fact that Houston will continue to contribute a portion of Parker’s salary is another plus for City.

Young domestic options

Going into Friday’s event, St. Louis had ten players on his roster; of these, only two (external Aziel Jackson i Jared Stroud) didn’t need an international slot. While the 2023 expansion portion has traded for three additional international slots beyond the eight allotted, it would be imperative that they build their domestic core in the expansion draft.

To that end, athletic director Lutz Pfannenstiel, head coach Bradley Carnell and director of coaching John Hackworth identified four players 25 and under who can contribute in the team’s first season and hopefully help the club maintain a growing culture for years to come. . Gioacchini and Vassilev have both spent time in the U.S. international squad, with Gioacchini (22) already amassing eight international caps while scoring three goals and Vassilev (21) having represented the U.S. all the way up to the U20 level. Speaking on the MLS draft live, Pfannenstiel said the club still had to negotiate with Aston Villa to bring Vassilev, who spent 2021 and 2022 on loan with Inter Miami, to St. Louis, but was confident the clubs could reach an agreement. agreement

Of the three whose futures are in a minor state of limbo, Gioacchini will likely be the most familiar to casual MLS fans. Aside from his games with the United States, the Kansas City native broke out after making his debut with French side SM Caen in 2019. After spending the 2021-22 season on loan with Montpellier, he made a permanent move to Orlando City SC on a free transfer (although Caen retained a percentage of any future transfer fees, an arrangement that will remain intact despite their move due to the single-entity nature of MLS). A member of the United States’ 2021 Gold Cup triumph, Gioacchini failed to score in his six MLS appearances for Orlando.

While Gioacchini’s potential is well documented, Bell and Nelson provide more defensive fortification with MLS experience. Bell was a huge success with New England after making his first-team debut in 2021, eventually making 27 appearances (mostly at centre-back) and adding two goals. He, along with Parker, offers St. Louis a pretty impressive central depth chart at such an early point in his formation alongside Swedish defender Joakim Nilsson (formerly with German side Armenia Bielefeld). The 10th overall pick in 2019, Nelson made 20 MLS appearances in two years FC Dallas before FC Cincinnati acquired his rights in last winter’s re-entry draft. The 24-year-old left back played 1,204 games when Ohio State made its first postseason appearance, though his playing time dwindled after an international call from Costa Rica. Ronald Food drawing returned to physical form.

One of the biggest gaps between new MLS clubs and more established teams is often felt among its younger members. Without the benefit of a well-oiled path from the academy to the first team, expansion teams may struggle to find true depth and reliable long-term options at the back of their roster while shuffling through players who are expendable by the rival. MLS sides. While the more well-known veterans like it Alexandre Bedoya, Dax McCarty i Alexandre Pozuelo may have been available for selection, it appears that St. Louis identified drawbacks to previous expansion sides as Minnesota UnitedCincinnati and Miami and prioritized finding players who weren’t just stopgap options.

What about St. Louis?

St. Louis still has some flexibility as they build the second half of their roster. The club has two designated players, although Pfannenstiel poo-pood the importance of paper and almost entirely he rejected the idea of ​​finding a third in an interview on the league’s website. The team’s top two DPs aren’t even the team’s highest-earning player since this fall’s MLSPA salary dump (which included St. Louis’ first signing), as the Brazilian forward Klauss ($1.37 million guaranteed, according to the MLSPA) and German. Midfielder Eduard Löwen ($1.29 million) is ahead of former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki ($1.63 million, first among all MLS players at his position in 2022). The athletic director also expressed hope to fight for a playoff spot during this interview.

In terms of the squad, midfield is currently the thinnest area from which Carnell can project his lineup. There is only one central midfielder in the squad and they will need to identify a defensive midfielder who can partner Löwen in a double pivot in Carnell’s expected 4-2-3-1 basic formation along with three or four options of depth The club lacks a clear starting option at both left-wing and right-back; It is also unclear whether 22-year-old Czech midfielder Tomáš Ostrák will be able to facilitate his first game at a high enough level for the team to confidently make him their number 10, having made just two assists in more than 2,200 minutes. The German Bundesliga, the Austrian Bundesliga and the Czech first division.

All that said, it’s getting easier to imagine how Carnell’s team might play as it prepares to open the as-yet-unsponsored Citypark in the spring. Parker gives them a respected domestic center to depend on, while the other four selections should be able to fit into a nebulous core and stay beyond City’s first season. Although there is more work to be done, the St. Louis looks to be pretty solid with almost the entire MLS offseason ahead of them to finish building a team.

Mandatory reading

(Photo: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)

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