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St. Louis CITY SC make five picks in 2022 MLS Expansion Draft

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Major League Soccer’s newest club, St. Louis CITY SC, further bolstered their inaugural roster with five picks in Friday’s Expansion Draft.

The Expansion Draft is a valuable mechanism for every new MLS club to add precious experience and quality at a fraction of the usual cost.

So, how did St. Louis take advantage of the opportunity? Let’s take a look at their picks:

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Gioacchini joins from Orlando City.

Gioacchini joins from Orlando City. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Right off the bat, Nicholas Gioacchini stands out as one of the most eye-catching Expansion Draft picks in recent years.

An eight-time US international with experience in the top two French divisions, Gioacchini has all the tools to be a huge success in MLS with speed, skill, and an eye for goal.

Sure, the forward’s move to Orlando City just four months ago didn’t go to plan, with Gioacchini making only six MLS appearances. However, at just 22 years old, he has plenty of time to get back on track and could quickly become a key player for St. Louis.

St. Louis must now negotiate with Aston Villa for Vassilev.

St. Louis must now negotiate with Aston Villa for Vassilev. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful first year on loan from Aston Villa, Inter Miami worked hard to make sure they brought Indiana Vassilev back for the 2022 season. His second campaign in Florida was a little more modest with just two goals in 25 appearances (13 starts).

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That said, Vassilev has plenty of quality on both sides of the ball, as well as extensive experience as a US youth international. There’s potential for huge value here.

The only snag is Vassilev was only on loan at Inter Miami, meaning St. Louis must now negotiate a deal with Aston Villa.

Bell will provide defensive solidity.

Bell will provide defensive solidity. / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Bell has been a solid depth piece at center-back for the New England Revolution over the last couple of years, backing up Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell.

The Maryland native made 29 appearances across two seasons and was part of the Revs’ record-setting Supporters’ Shield win in 2021.

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However, at 25 years old, it’s time for Bell to become a regular starter. St. Louis might just offer him the chance to show MLS what he’s fully capable of.

Nelson had a strong 2022 season with FC Cincinnati.

Nelson had a strong 2022 season with FC Cincinnati. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Following a couple of years at FC Dallas, John Nelson enjoyed a solid season with FC Cincinnati in 2022, playing 24 times and providing two assists in MLS play.

The 24-year-old will likely come in as back-up to Bosnia & Herzegovina international Selmir Pidro. However, Nelson certainly has the quality to pick up plenty of regular starts himself, should Pidro need time to adjust to MLS.

LaCava has earned St. Louis some valuable GAM.

LaCava has earned St. Louis some valuable GAM. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Young winger Jake LaCava was picked from the New York Red Bulls before St. Louis immediately traded him to Inter Miami.

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Both clubs win in this situation, with St. Louis picking up a minimum of $150k in General Allocation Money (GAM), with a further $100k GAM due should certain performance metrics be hit. Miami, meanwhile, have paid a much smaller fee for a talented young winger.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Monterrey signs midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Puebla

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Rayados de Monterrey have signed midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Club Puebla, ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura. 

He joins the Guadalajara team on a four-season contract, according to Diego Armando Medina of TUDN.

“I have been delighted since the opportunity to come here was given, I always knew that I had to make a leap to these big leagues with one of the biggest clubs in Mexico,” Cortizo said of his transfer. 

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Cortizo kicked off his professional career with Queretaro in 2017, recording four goals in 76 appearances over the course of three years before seeing stints with Tijuana and Puebla. He managed well in Liga MX, but it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout. 

The offensive midfielder recorded five goals in 20 overall matches to inspire Puebla to eighth on the table and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, Cortizo has 12 goals in 149 Liga MX appearances. 

“They are going to see a player who always tries, that will never fail, who will go for the ball, will try to play, propose offensive play, go forward and who will always give himself up for the club. It is my dream to be champion of the Liga MX, there is no better option today than to be sitting here and with this squad to achieve it,” he said.

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Cortizo stands as the first signing under new Monterrey president Jose Antonio Noriega, who replaced Duilio Davino  following the team’s elimination from the 2022 Apertura. Upon his arrival, Noriega insisted he needed to evaluate the team’s needs before making drastic changes. 

But the arrival of Jordi Cortizo will now set off the several moves already planned. 

The 2023 Liga MX Clausura kicks off on January 6.



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Club America sign defender Israel Reyes from Puebla

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Club America has finally signed defender Israel Reyes from Club Puebla.

He stands as the team’s first reinforcement ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura, joining on a four-year contract.  The Mexico City team reportedly paid $4.5M for Reyes, after he established himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Mexican league.

Reyes kicked off his professional career with Atlas in 2019, before quickly securing a loan deal to Puebla. After 19 games with the Franja, the team exercised his purchase option to make Reyes a staple of the backline. 

But it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout in the Mexican league. The 22-year-old managed three goals in 17 games of the 2022 Apertura, inspiring Puebla to eighth place in the regular season and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, he recorded six goals in 76 appearances with Puebla before joining Club America.

Internationally, the player holds one cap with the Mexican national team. He made his debut on December 8, 2021, coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute of a friendly against Chile.

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

On Sunday, England and Senegal, their opponents in the last-16 of the World Cup, square off at Al Bayt Stadium in a battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Three Lions take on the Lions of Teranga, who advanced to the knockout stages thanks to a crucial intervention from their captain, in a first-ever meeting after Gareth Southgate’s team defeated Wales to win Group B.

Line-up

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Kane.  

Senegal XI: E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; Ciss, N. Mendy; Diatta, Ndiaye, Sarr; Dia. 

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