The up-and-coming soccer mecca of the USA? St. Louis makes its case with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo | SIDELINE
It may not be one of the cities on people's lips in all the recent chatter about MLS expansion, but St. Louis sure has a strong appetite for big-time soccer.
How about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the same year?
On Wednesday, it was announced that Messi will lead perennial World Cup favorites Argentina in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on November 18 at Busch Stadium (8:30 pm ET).
It could prove to be the latest soccer sellout at the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium after a capacity crowd of 48,263 watched English Premier League powers Manchester City beat Chelsea on May 23.
A few months later in August, Real Madrid beat Inter Milan in front of 54,184 at the Edwards Jones Dome. Although 13,000 short of a sell-out at the home of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the match between the European powers set a soccer attendance record for St. Louis.
But if you're thinking the selling point of the Argentina-Bosnia match is Messi, think again. With a Bosnian contingent in St. Louis estimated at 70,000 – Bosnia-Herzegovina star forward Vedad Ibisevic has family in St. Louis and starred at St. Louis University – there are some who think Busch Stadium could be filled by backers of the European nation alone.
There's only one catch: If the Bosnians, who currently sit tops in Group G alongside Greece, are forced to play a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff, they will be replaced by a different team.
How do you feel about St. Louis? Think it could one day be home to a professional soccer team?