St. Louis City SC welcomed a sell-out crowd of 22,423 for its first-ever Major League Soccer match at the new CityPark stadium on Saturday.
The majority of the crowd went home happy as City SC secured a 3-1 win over Charlotte FC. The result maintained the team’s 100% start in its inaugural MLS season after an opening-day win at Austin FC.
Charlotte FC’s Enzo Copetti scored the first MLS goal at CityPark after 25 minutes before a Bill Tuiloma own goal and a penalty from Eduard Löwen penalty saw the home side take a 2-1 lead into half-time. João Klauss de Mello secured the three points for City SC after 71 minutes.
CityPark has a capacity of 22,500 and officially opened in November as City SC’s reserve team faced a team representing German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. The stadium was built at a cost of $485m (£404m/€455m).
Prior to Saturday’s debut MLS match, City SC fans unveiled a full-stadium tifo. After the game, which was attended by MLS commissioner Don Garber, goalscorer Löwen praised the atmosphere created by supporters.
“The moment I stepped out I had goosebumps,” he said. “You could tell the whole city was waiting for this moment for so long. I had to keep myself a little bit down the day and the days before, try to not focus too much on the game because I know that the excitement is so big, and it was an incredible night.”
The stadium district spans 31 acres and also includes the club’s training centre, team headquarters and an official team store. In October, the club announced that the stadium would no longer be called Centene Stadium, with a new naming-rights sponsor now being sought.
Healthcare company Centene was unveiled as the stadium’s naming-rights sponsor in February 2022 as part of a 15-year deal, but since October the venue has been known as CityPark.
Following discussions with Centene, the club agreed to reshape its partnership with the company. The two parties will work together on community health and wellness initiatives promoting youth soccer and fitness.
The next MLS game at CityPark will be against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 18.