Former Red Bulls defender Tim Parker will join his fourth MLS club. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
St. Louis CITY SC made five selections and completed two trades in the MLS expansion draft on Friday.
CITY SC picked Orlando City and USMNT forward Niko Gioacchini, Inter Miami midfielder Indiana Vassilev, New England Revolution center back Jonathan Bell, FC Cincinnati left back John Nelson and Red Bulls forward Jake La Cava.
Following the five expansion draft selections, CITY SC made two trades, as well. CITY SC acquired Houston Dynamo captain and center back Tim Parker in exchange for $500,000 in General Allocation Money over two seasons, $250,000 in 2023 and $250,000 in 2024. Houston will retain a portion of the player’s budget charge in both 2023 and 2024. St. Louis then selected La Cava and traded him to Inter Miami for $150,000 in 2023 GAM.
“There was a good grouping of players to select from in this year’s draft,” sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said in a statement. “We felt that the players we selected all fit into our identity and style of play. On top of the four selections we kept, being able to acquire MLS veteran and club captain Tim Parker only strengthen our core.”
A quick look of the newcomers:
Position: Center back // Height: 6-2 // Birthdate: February 23, 1993 // Hometown: Hicksville, N.Y.
Parker, 29, has been a constant at the back line for when he started in Vancouver, the Red Bulls and Houston. At Houston, the Long Island native was named captain in 2021 and started in 60 of the 62 matches he appeared in the last two seasons. Parker helped anchor a Dynamo backline to nine clean sheets in the regular season during his Houston tenure. Prior to Houston, Parker spent three seasons with New York, including a 2018 season that featured a Supporters’ Shield and a Concacaf Champions League semifinal appearance. The Long Island native returned to the New York-Metro Area following a trade at the beginning of the 2018 season that brought him back from Vancouver in a swap with Felipe.
After joining New York in March of 2018, Parker played 38 of the possible 44 matches in 2018. He helped anchor a Red Bulls backline to 17 clean sheets, while contributing two goals and two assists across all competitions. He also earned his first career USMNT cap and start during the June FIFA International window. In three seasons as a Red Bull, Parker accrued 95 matches played with 8,117 minutes across all competitions. He anchored a Red Bulls backline to 32 clean sheets among all four major competitions in the U.S. Offensively, the St. John’s University graduate tallied three goals and three assists, two of which came in MLS Cup Playoffs play.
Nicholas ‘Niko’ Gioacchini // (joe-ah-KEY-nee)
Position: Forward // Height: 6-0 // Birthdate: July 25, 2000 // Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.
A product of Paris FC’s youth academy system, Gioacchini joined SM Caen ahead of their 2019 Ligue 2 season, most recently spending the 2021/22 season on loan at Montpellier HSC in Ligue 1. Gioacchini has totaled 88 appearances, with 12 goals and four assists across all competitions since beginning his professional career. A native of Kansas City, Mo., the American has appeared on the international stage for the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his senior debut on Nov. 12, 2020 in a scoreless draw against Wales. Gioacchini has since registered eight caps, scoring three goals and providing two assists for the U.S., including five appearances, one goal and one assist in the Gold Cup.
Position: Midfield // Height: 5-8 // Birthdate: February 16, 2001 // Hometown: Savannah, Ga.
Vassilev, a Aston Villa academy product, has recently played for Inter Miami the last two seasons. The Savannah, Georgia, native compiled 48 appearances across all competitions for Miami while tallying five goals and two assists. For country, Vassilev has appeared for the U.S. youth national team at the Under-16, U-17, U-18 and U-20 levels. In 33 appearances across all levels, he tallied five goals. Vassilev featured 17 times at the Under-17 squad that was coached by CITY2 Head Coach John Hackworth.
Position: Center back // Height: 5-11 // Birthdate: August 26, 1997 // Hometown: Rockville, Md.
Bell signed MLS contract with New England Revolution on March 22, 2021 after featuring for Revolution II in the team’s inaugural 2020 campaign. He owns 27 appearances, 19 of them starts, with two goals and two assists through two seasons in MLS. In 2022, Bell logged 15 appearances, including 10 starts, with one goal over 1,054 minutes. He was drafted in the second round, 38th overall, of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes and spent the 2020 MLS Preseason in Cancun, Mexico with San Jose, but then his MLS rights were acquired by the Revolution in a trade with San Jose on Dec. 13, 2020.
Position: Center back // Height: 5-11 // Birthdate: Aug. 26, 1997 // Hometown: Rockville, Md.
Nelson began his FC Dallas career in 2019 and recorded 20 appearances over three seasons with Dallas. The Rockville, Md. native recently featured for Cincinnati in 2022, where he appeared in 24 matches and tallied two assists.