CITY's Future - Now Playing 3/22/22
We are continuing our regular look at how our CITY signings and rumored signings are performing before they arrive in St. Louis later this year. Below are our players classified into either confirmed or rumored signings. As of March 22th, 2022 that list includes Josh Yaro, Selmir Pidro, Tomáš Ostrák, João Klauss, and now officially as of this past week, Roman Bürki. Joakim Nilsson and St Louis CITY SC have reportedly agreed to terms, but no announcement has been made. This week our signings saw action across the board in Germany, Belgium, and the US.
Josh Yaro - 5'11. 161 lbs. 27 yrs old. Center back
Yaro was drafted 2nd overall by the Philadelphia Union in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and has played for Bethlehem Steel, San Antonio FC, and San Diego Loyal before joining St. Louis CITY SC on a free transfer. Yaro has the distinction of being the first player officially signed by CITY SC and to play for CITY2. Before moving to the first team, Yaro has been named captain of the St. Louis CITY 2 team for 2022.
3/22/22 Update: Yaro played in the final 2 preseason matchups for CITY2 this past week. On March 15th, he was a halftime sub for CITY2 took the captain's arm band, and had numerous key passes that led to CITY2 scoring opportunities. It was also noticeable that Yaro took some of our younger players aside to seemingly discuss tactics and offer advice, as you would expect from a good captain. Yaro also played in the final preseason matchup on March 18th at Swope Park in Kansas CIty, MO, against USL League One side, Union Omaha. Yaro will look to lead CITY2 to their first ever regular season matchup and also kick start the MLS NEXT PRO league, on Friday March 25 in front of a large crowd at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis.
Selmir Pidro - 5'10. 170 lbs. 24 yrs old. Left back
The first officially announced player for St. Louis CITY SC, Pidro is a Bosnian international, currently with Bosnian top flight club FK Sarajevo. Pidro has been with FK Sarajevo since early 2014 in their youth academy and as of March 8th, has 81 appearances in all competitions for FK Sarajevo dating back to 2018. Pidro has 2 caps for the Bosnian national team, including most recently against the USMNT in a friendly in December 2021. Pidro comes to St. Louis CITY SC this July for a reported transfer fee of $380,000.
3/22/22 Update: Pidro played a combined 180 minutes for FK Sarajevo this past week. On March 16th, he started at left back against FK Sloboda Tuzla in the 2nd leg of the quarter final matchup of the BIH Cup, the Bosnian domestic cup tournament. Sarajevo appeared to roll out a 3 man backfield, of which Pidro was on the left side and picked up a yellow card in the 44th minute. Pidro's club went on to tie, 0-0, which gave them a 2-0 aggregate win and a birth into the semi-finals. Pidro and Sarajevo returned to league play on March 20, where Pidro started at left back and helped his team to a 6-0 win over HSK Posusje.
Tomáš Ostrák - 5'7. 165 lbs. 22 yrs old. Attacking Midfielder
A Czech Republic youth international, Ostrák joined the Academy of 1. FC Köln in the German Bundesliga in 2016. He had loan spells with TSV Hartberg in the Austrian Bundesliga and MFK Karviná in the Czech Republic before being recalled by 1. FC Köln in July 2021. Ostrák has also seen time with the Czech youth national teams at the U21 (7 caps), U20 (2 caps), U19 (5 caps), U18 (3 caps), and U17 (7 caps) levels. Ostrák will join St. Louis CITY SC this July on a free transfer.
3/22/22 Update: After last week's goal for the U21 side, Ostrák was named to the bench for 1. FC Köln in their March 20th Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund. Ostrák subbed into the match in the 84th minute during a 1-1 tie and saw meaningful time for a Köln side looking to steal a win from BVB in the later minutes of the match. Ostrák played an attacking mid position, where we expect to see him for STL CITY SC, while spreading out right at times. Ostrák did not register on the scoresheet, but did have a shot sail wide of goal in the 91st minute from a bounce off a throw in.
João Klauss - 6'3. 185 lbs. 25 yrs old. Center Forward/Striker
Klauss is the first Designated Player signed by CITY and hails from Brazil. Lutz Pfanennstiel was the man who brought Klauss from Brazil to Germany as a 19-year old, and signed him to his first professional contract with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, the reserve team of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim of the German Bundesliga. Klauss has also had multiple loans to clubs such as HJK Helsinki of the Finnish top league, Linzer ASK (LASK) of the Austrian top flight, and Jupiler Pro league (Belgian top flight) clubs Standard and currently with Sint-Truidense V.V. (STVV). Klauss has scored 64 goals in 192 competitions since turning pro. As an opportunity for consistency in his continued growth, Klauss signed a 3 ½ year contract with an option for another and will join St. Louis CITY SC this July for a reported $3m transfer fee.
3/22/22 Update: For the 2nd week in a row, Klauss was named to the bench for Sint-Truidense VV in their Jupiler Pro League match, this time on March 20th against Beerschot VA. Klauss entered the match as a sub in the 72nd minute and took a center forward position on the right side of a 5-2-1-2 formation. Immediately upon entering the match, Klauss had a key pass for a shot on goal in the left side of the goal box. In the 82nd minute, Klauss won a free kick in their attacking half, which led to a free kick shot wide of the net.
Roman Bürki - 6'2. 187 lbs. 31 yrs old. Goalkeeper
Bürki began his professional career at the age of 17 with Swiss club BSC Young Boys and was out on multiple loans until he found a new home with Grasshopper Club Zürich. Bürki began that stint on loan in 2011, but was eventually sold in 2013. Bürki had a brief period with SC Freiburg in 2014-2015 before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2015. In both his stay with Grasshopper and Freiburg, Bürki started out as a backup and quickly took over the starting role. Bürki is a former Swiss international with experience in both World Cup Qualifiers as well as the EURO competition. He is still with Borussia Dortmund with his last game played for them being in May 2021.
3/22/22 Update: It did not take long for things to become official. Manuel Veth from Transfermarkt started the rumor mill on Monday, 3/14 that Bürki and CITY had an agreement in place. By 9:30am on March 16, it was officially announced by the club that Roman Bürki would be the starting goalkeeper for St. Louis CITY SC starting in 2023. Bürki will not be a designated player as he is coming on a free transfer. It is speculated that he will come on a TAM deal, meaning that he will be making more than the league maximum salary of $612,500, but his hit to the overall salary cap will be no more than the league maximum by using this Targeted Allocation Monday to buy his salary hit down. Bürki will also be playing for CITY2 in MLS Next Pro after joining the club in July.
Joakim Nilsson - 6'1. 172 lbs. 28 yrs old. Center back
Nilsson's playing career has seen him spend significant time in Sweden, spending a year with Swedish third division side IF Älgarna in 2009-2010, 2011-2016 with GIF Sundsvall bouncing between the Swedish first/second division side and three years from 2016-2019 with IF Elfsborg Boras in the first division. In 2019, Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga paid $440k in transfer fees for Nilsson's services. He is a perennial starter for Bielefeld, having logged 49 matches in the German Bundesliga.
3/22/22 Update: Nilsson returned from COVID protocols and although he did not feature, he was named to the bench for Arminia Bielefeld. As Nilsson would seemingly be recovering and building his fitness back up, Bielefeld went on to lose to 1.FSV Mainz 5, 4-0.
Also of note, Manuel Veth from Transfermarkt reported on March 20 that Nilsson and CITY have agreed to full terms for a free summer transfer. However as Bielefeld are in a relegation fight, an announcement on his signing is not expected soon.
By Matt Baker