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Stand up, St. Louis: USWNT tickets going fast

St. Louis has responded in droves to its first U.S. men’s or women’s national team match over seven years.

As of midday Friday, 23,500 tickets had been sold for the U.S. women’s national team’s April 4 match against New Zealand at Busch Stadium, home of Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals. A few thousand more tickets have since been sold.

U.S. Soccer initially planned to only utilize the lower bowl of the baseball park for the April 4 match, but strong ticket sales prompted the federation and stadium officials to open the upper deck.

[MORE: Four home friendlies announced for USWNT as World Cup sendoff]

Attendance is projected to be the highest for the U.S. women in over 11 years. On Oct. 11, 2003, 25,253 fans showed up to the Home Depot Center (now the StubHub Center) in Carson, Calif., to watch the U.S. defeat Canada in the third-place match of the Women’s World Cup.

St. Louis last hosted the U.S. women’s national team on Oct. 10, 2007 for a 5-1 win over Mexico at the Edward Jones Dome as part of the post-World Cup tour. A crowd of 10,861 fans showed up that day. The U.S. men’s national team hasn’t played in St. Louis since 1997.

The city last got a glimpse of women’s soccer at the highest level in 2009 and for a brief part of 2010 with Saint Louis Athletica in WPS. Athletica, which finished second in the league in 2009 before losing to eventual champion Sky Blue FC in the super semifinal match, was briefly home to Hope Solo, Ashlyn Harris, Aya Miyama, Lindsay Tarpley, Shannon Boxx, Tina Ellertson and captain and hometown player Lori Chalupny. Athletica folded in the middle of the 2010 season due to a lack of funding.

Chalupny is expected to be with the United States for its April 4 visit to St. Louis, as is fellow St. Louis native and U.S. center back Becky Sauerbrunn.

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