Some sat in stunned silence. Many collectively spat four-letter words at the screens.
As patrons at Doyle’s Public House watched Portugal score against the U.S. to tie Sunday’s World Cup game in the final minute of play, heads were held, mouths dropped open, and eyes were wide.
“Obviously the drama started early,” Troy Hitt said as he got ready to leave Doyle’s on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which had a mini U.S. flag on the back for the occasion. “We had all the confidence in the world we’d be able to come back, and we did. We thought for sure: ‘We’ve got this. We’re going to win.’ It was heartbreaking.”
And while “heartbreaking” was the word used most by fans packed into the giant tent next to the bar, where the game was projected, they were also quick to note it’s not over. And quick to say they’ll be back Thursday to watch the U.S. play Germany.
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“Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m really proud of how we played today,” said Adria McMichael, who came from Port Orchard to watch the match. “We just have to play really hard against Germany. I’m OK now. I almost cried. As soon as it hit me that we came back from where we were — and that never happens for us — I’m OK.”
The bar was a fun place to vent with other fans about their “mutual hatred of Ronaldo,” she said, referring to Portugal star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Thursday will be a little more difficult for her, she says, given that she’s German. But she’ll still be rooting for Team USA.
“I have my allegiance,” she said.
Inside the sweltering tent Sunday, the roar was deafening when the U.S. first got on the board, overcoming an early mistake that allowed Portugal to score.
“Oh my God, it was crazy,” said Anna Castro, of Tacoma, taking a break outside. “They just kept yelling and chanting and jumping.”
And the United States’ second score came with a similar din.
Chants of “U-S-A” and “I believe that we will win” followed the eruptions.
When the team would block Portugal from scoring, some in the crowd showed their approval with choice gestures at the screens amid the shouts.
Julie Shilling, sporting a stars-and-stripes shirt outside the tent at the half, said she’s a soccer fan, “just not, like, diehard.”
The tent she described as “pretty loud. I got spit on a couple times. Just when everyone was yelling and everything.”
While Portugal’s chances of advancing are slim, the tie kept them from being eliminated outright.
But Shilling said there weren’t many celebrating that at Doyle’s.
“There was one Portugal fan, and everyone was saying really mean things about him,” she said.
All they were saying when the game was over were cries such as:
“Are you kidding me?”
“They stopped playing. We quit playing.”