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St. Louis City choose Indiana Vassilev among expansion picks

Oct 17, 2022; Queens, New York, USA; Inter Miami CF midfielder Indiana Vassilev (17) warms up before a MLS Eastern Conference quarterfinal match between New York City FC and Inter Miami CF at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Vassilev, a midfielder on loan in Major League Soccer from Aston Villa of the English Premier League, was selected by new squad St. Louis City SC as one of five picks in Major League Soccer’s expansion draft on Friday.

St. Louis is set to become MLS’ 29th team in 2023.

Vassilev was taken by St. Louis from Inter Miami, the team with which he appeared in 45 games (20 starts) and contributed five goals and two assists. The 21-year-old Savannah, Ga., native appeared briefly for Aston Villa in 2020 before being loaned to Miami.

Vassilev played for United States national teams at the under-17, under-18 and under-20 levels but has yet to appear for the senior national team.

The other players selected by St. Louis were forward Nicholas Gioacchini, from Orlando City; defender Jonathan Bell, from the New England Revolution; defender John Nelson, from FC Cincinnati; and forward Jake La Cava, from the New York Red Bulls.

La Cava won’t be heading to St. Louis, though, as the expansion club immediately traded him to Inter Miami in exchange for $150,000 in 2023 general allocation money, with up to another $100,000 possibly to be added based on La Cava’s performance.

St. Louis added one more player, making a trade to acquire center back Tim Parker from the Houston Dynamo. The deal will send $500,000 in general allocation money to Houston.

“He’s a role model on and off the field,” St. Louis sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said. “That’s exactly the player we wanted. It’s a deal for us I think where we can be really happy.”

Parker, 29, appeared in two games with the U.S. men’s national team (USMNT) in 2016. He has played in MLS for the Vancouver Whitecaps (2015-17), the Red Bulls (2018-20) and Houston (2021-22). This season for Houston, he appeared in 28 games, including 26 starts, and had no goals nor assists.

Parker has two goals and four assists in 217 career MLS games, including 207 starts.

Gioacchini, 21, scored three goals in eight games with the USMNT in 2020 and 2021, including a goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Martinique. This year was his first in MLS after he previously played for several teams in France. Gioacchini had no goals and no assists in six games (two starts) for Orlando City this year.

Bell, 25, spent two years with the Revolution, producing two goals and two assists in 27 games (19 starts).

Nelson, 24, played three years for FC Dallas before spending 2022 with FC Cincinnati, for whom he had no goals and two assists in 24 games (14 starts).

–Field Level Media