ST. LOUIS – Several St. Louis sites hosted watch parties Saturday morning as the U.S. Men’s Soccer team battled the Netherlands in the World Cup.
U.S. came up short, losing 3-1 in the do-or-die matchup. Despite the tough ending, many woke up early and gathered at watch parties with optimism.
Conner Shaw and Melvin Wilson went to Amsterdam Tavern on Morgan Ford Road before the sun came up.
“We’re gonna bring this home,” Shaw said hours before the matchup.
“To come into work today and see people ready camping out before I even got to work was pretty cool to see,” said Amsterdam Tavern bartender Jeffrey Shipman. “I’ve never seen that before here.”
A smaller, family-friendly group watched the game at Falcon’s Social Club on Southwest Avenue in the Hill neighborhood. Seven-year-old Jordan Campbell attended the watch party with her dad.
“I wanted to see the U.S. game,” she said.
It was the same story for Chaminade High School freshman Nico Thompson.
“I like the USA team,” he said.
It was also a full house at Milo’s Bocce Garden.
“There’s nothing like watching soccer on the Hill,” said owner Joe Vollmer.
What started with high hopes ended in a disappointing loss. Fans were hoping the men’s national team could advance past the round of 16 for the first time since 2002. When Netherlands entered halftime with a two-goal lead, reality started sinking in.
“The Netherlands are hard competition,” fan David Grybinas said.
Fans and businesses alike seem to be ready to move forward.
“We’re still a huge soccer community, so we will continue to watch all the games come down to watch the games,” Paul Levine, president of Falcon’s Social Club said. “It won’t be the same though, watching with the USA not in it, that’s for sure.”
Employees at Amsterdam Tavern who call themselves the ‘World’s Greatest Soccer Tavern’ plan on closing the street for the final, no matter which teams are playing.
“We’re gonna have one more big game no matter what,” Shipman said. “We’ve got England tomorrow (Dec. 4). “They always bring in a crowd as well, so it should be pretty fun.”