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U.S. Soccer Grant Park Watch Party Draws Thousands

By Kelly Bauer | June 26, 2014 10:58am | Updated on June 26, 2014 2:22pm
 U.S. soccer fans again flocked to Grant Park as the World Cup team took on Germany.
Grant Park Watch Party
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GRANT PARK — Thousands of fans flocked to Grant Park again Thursday to watch the U.S. soccer team fall to Germany yet live on to continue in World Cup play.

The Americans lost 1-0, but the team will advance to the next round. That caveat led to U.S. fans leaving the park happy after the game — chanting "USA! USA!" — though the audience still booed during Germany's goal and screamed when the U.S. players made last-minute efforts to score.

U.S. fan Akshay Patil, 23, said the viewing was "great" and that he had no complaints. Patil, decked out in red, white and blue, said he's been at every viewing in Grant Park to support the team.

The chances of the "U.S. winning it all — as an American, all the way, 100 percent, but as a soccer fan I'd say pretty slim," Patil said.

Amanda Gomez, 16, of Michigan, watched the game with family at the park. She said the ending was exciting, and the game was fun "besides us losing."

Shuaib Shameem, 22, of Wheaton, was was one of few Germany fans at the Grant Park viewing. His favorite part of the game came when Germany's Thomas Müller scored in the second half.

"It's nice to just be in this competitive environment," Shameem said. Sporting a Germany shirt, Shameem said he has not experienced any backlash from other Chicagoans for supporting the team.

A Germany fan since the last World Cup, Shameem said he favors the team because "back then the U.S. wasn't as big into soccer and I've always enjoyed German culture." He said the U.S. squad might go far, but it won't beat Germany if the teams make it to the finish.

Thursday's loss didn't come as a surprise to many fans, as Germany has won three cups and has been runner-up four times. The team has "no one special in particular but they work together well, which makes them lethal," said Bilal Darwish, 18, of south suburban Tinley Park.

Darwish said it was hard to compare Thursday's crowd to those who showed up Sunday to watch the Americans in their draw with Portugal because the locations were different.

Watch party organizers moved the event to a larger area in the park after Sunday's event drew so many fans that security had to turn many away.

Meanwhile, DNAinfo Chicago's Patty Wetli and Jon Hanson were up north taking in the festivities at DANKHaus, where the crowd was decidedly more pro-Germany.


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