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Leo Messi and Argentina set for St. Louis appearance

Oct 3, 2013, 10:35 AM EDT

Chelsea Manchester City Soccer AP

For a city without an MLS team or an actual soccer stadium, St. Louis has been flush with big-time soccer matches in 2013. The Midwest outpost (with a rich soccer history, it should be noted) gets another plum in November when the world’s best player makes a scheduled appearance.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the news today that baseball’s Cardinals have arranged an Argentina- Bosnia and Herzegovina meeting for Busch Stadium on Nov. 18. The contest is contingent on Bosnia having already qualified for the World Cup by that date, the newspaper reported.

The November date follows plum matches earlier this year featuring English giants Manchester City and Chelsea (also at Busch Stadium) and another one featuring Spanish heavyweight Real Madrid (that one at the Edward Jones Dome).

The newspaper also reported that Argentina and Barcelona superstar Leo Messi (currently on the injury shelf but expected back well before November) is contractually obligated to appear at Busch Stadium in the fall friendly.

The previous matches were well-attended (more than 100,000 fans combined), and all of this underscores what so many of us have thought for years: that St. Louis has tremendous potential as a Major League Soccer outpost.

But, as I’ve written again and again, plotting out the MLS expansion map – the league is going to 24 teams by 2020, you know – isn’t just about geographical balance and “good soccer markets.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the case.

The reality is that MLS expansion targeting is a difficult balance between the right kind of ownership, the right facility plan, the right local government support and those geographical concerns. St. Louis got close a few years back, but the ownership group just didn’t have the requisite financial muscle.

Maybe these matches can somehow shift the expansion balance.

  1. bobinkc - Oct 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Sorry, Steve, but the road to MLS in St Louis is littered with the corpses of a number of futbol teams that have folded after only a year or two (or maybe three). The current startup is the Arsenal and rumor has it that the contract for the jersey sponsor is strictly on a month-to-month basis rather than paying by the year. That way when the team folds, as so many have in the past, the sponsor will only be out the payment for the current month.

    St Louis is notorious for supporting one-night soccer stands and then allowing a home team to collapse from malnourishment. STL is worse than Kansas City in lack of support for losers.

    • notaretard - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      that’s a pretty weak assessment. yes, in the past st louis has had a number of teams fold. however, a number of minor league soccer teams and indoor teams have folded around the country in the past in cities that currently have MLS teams. hell, they’re even looking at giving miami another team and they’ve had an MLS franchise fold on them. st louis is one of the epicenters of youth soccer in the country (not as much as in years past, but still, schools like CBC, Chaminade, SLUH, etc. are perennial top 25 high school teams) and the interest is there. it’s lack of competent leadership that keeps screwing them, not lack of support.

      and do you really want to go there in terms of supporting losers? being from columbia, i attend a number of sporting events in both St Louis and KC and never have i been to a professional stadium as empty as kauffman stadium on every occasion that wasn’t buck night. KC will always support the chiefs. sporting looks to be the same, now, but i was going to games back at arrowhead that were almost empty. that’s changed, but royals games are still empty unless it’s a big occasion, like someone on an opposing team’s farewell tour, buck night, or some other giveaway. KC supports the chiefs and sporting. Stl the cards and the blues. each city has 2 teams they love and one they could care less about. nice try though.

      as far as soccer support, St. Louis has been home to 5 franchises that left the city. KC has been home to 4 that have left. not really much of a difference there except that KC had competent management that was able to secure an MLS franchise out of the gate

  2. hildezero - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    So just because a city that has had a couple of big name clubs play in their own city this year, they should be on the radar for an MLS club? What?! XD That’s dumb!

    • notaretard - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      you clearly know nothing about soccer culture in st louis. they’ve been in the picture for years now, and were among the finalists to get a franchise in 2009 when it ultimately ended up going to philadelphia. perhaps you might want to inform yourself a little on which you speak before making moronic comments

    • notaretard - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      and it has nothing to do with big name clubs playing there, it has to do with the huge turnout for those 2 games, which indicates an interest in the game. and guess what? when allotting a city a new franchise, you want it to be in a city with a lot of interest and people who will come out to the game. that’s the whole freaking point

  3. creek0512 - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    With it looking like Miami, Orlando & Atlanta getting 3 of the next 4 clubs. I would be happy with anothet Midwest club in either Indianapolis or St. Louis.

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