European soccer comes to Busch Stadium

AS Roma, Liverpool honored 'to be here in this historic place'

European soccer comes to Busch Stadium

ST. LOUIS -- Monday night, a pitch was not a ball thrown from the mound to home plate, but the name of the field. An international soccer match was played at Busch Stadium III for just the fifth time in the facility's history and ended with AS Roma defeating Liverpool, 2-1.

"It was an honor to be here in this historic place," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. "We tried to do our best. Obviously, it wasn't enough tonight, but it was not because of the stadium. It was not because of the crowd. They were fantastic. "

The match was part of the International Champions Cup, which pits teams from Europe against each other in a series of preseason matches in a tournament style to prepare for their regular seasons.

The goals stood in left field and in foul territory down the first-base line with the field aligned north to south. It was oriented east to west in prior games, but a Cardinals game four days away required the pitcher's mound to remain untouched. The infield from first base through the shortstop position was covered in grass.

"The pitch was not perfect," Roma manager Luciano Spalleti said through a translator. "But it's also true that many scoring chances were created and quality football was played, which proved all in all the pitch was OK."

The stadium most recently played host to a FIFA World Cup qualifier between the U.S. men's national team and St. Vincent and The Grenadines last November. The U.S. women's national team played on the field in a friendly against New Zealand in April 2015 prior to its World Cup victory. Busch Stadium was also the site for an international friendly between Argentina and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as a club friendly between Manchester City and Chelsea in 2013.

"It's unique, 100 percent," Klopp said of playing in a baseball stadium. "The pitch was as good as possible, I would say. I've played in my life on better pitches, but in my own career I've played on much worse pitches. It was all good and absolutely OK."

Roma and Liverpool have history in baseball stadiums, as Roma won games at Fenway Park between the teams in 2012 and 2014.

Liverpool shared a history with St. Louis, playing at Public School Stadium in 1948, 1953 and 1964. The city also has a past with England on the national stage. Five members of the U.S. men's national team that defeated England, 1-0, at the 1950 World Cup called St. Louis home.

"It was a great pleasure to play in this environment," Spalleti said. "The environment was great, it was breathtaking. It was an honor to play in such an important venue where such an important sport is played, and where a big team plays baseball. So we were excited to play here."

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.