Soccer fans turn out throughout Baltimore to watch World Cup action

July 01, 2014|By Cody Goodwin, The Baltimore Sun

A few hundred soccer fans gathered at Power Plant Live! on Tuesday to watch the United States play Belgium in the 2014 World Cup’s round-of-16 game.

While the U.S. lost a heartbreaker, 2-1 in extra time, ending their 2014 World Cup campaign, each soccer fan in attendance sported Red, White and Blue gear in support of the U.S.

The USA garb came in all shapes and sizes. There were plenty of hats and scarves and jerseys and flags worn as capes in Leinenkugel’s Beer Garden, where employees set up a huge screen to show the game.

“It shows off your pride,” Jessica Celmer, of Baltimore, said of all the support of the national team. “I’m very proud of my country.”

On the inside, bartenders informed the fans of their “Red, Light and Blue” deal, where any fan could purchase Red’s Apple Ale, Miller Light or Blue Moon for just $3 if they had a special cup.

Some fans avoided drinking Blue Moon simply because it’s labeled as a “Belgian White.”

The first round of cheers came 40 minutes before the game even started, when the U.S. ran out onto the field for warm-ups. Out in the Beer Garden, Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,” blared through the speakers.

As more and more fans filed into the Beer Garden, they tried starting the different types of chants associated with the American soccer team. Small waves of the “I Believe” cheer and individual “USA!” chants filled the warm Baltimore air.

But as the game progressed, the tension surrounding the team’s performance rose. Belgium continually peppered Tim Howard with shots, and each time he made another save, the collective fan base sighed in relief.

In the end, though, Belgium made the plays necessary to win, scoring twice in the first extra 15 minutes. The U.S. mounted a comeback, sparking enthusiasm from the crowd, but Belgium held off the offensive pressure.

Power Plant Live! had become a popular spot for fans to gather and watch the games, even when the U.S. was in pool play and their fate was undecided.

“Been a USA fan since ’02, real hard,” said Baltimore native David Carey. “It’s been awesome to support and cheer and wear Red, White and Blue and everything.”

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