Soccer fans crowd Philly for the thrill of defeat as U.S. advances

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It wasn’t pretty, but the U.S. soccer team is moving on.

Despite losing to Germany 1-0 on Thursday, the Americans will join the Germans in the knockout round of the World Cup after surviving the tournament’s group stage.

Hundreds packed Commerce Square in Center City to watch the match on a giant outdoor TV screen as they ate lunch.

Ryan Engle stood up front, draped in an American flag and filled with worry.

“I play a lot of FIFA, man, and I know Germany is a good squad. I know their players and I know some of their tendencies,” said Engle, who drove into the city from Bensalem. “We got that heart, but they’re just, athletically, way superior to us.”

Others, such as John Caro, were a bit more optimistic, if only cautiously so.

He took the day off to watch the game, the third and final of the group stage.

“Being a U.S. fan is just the same as being a Philly fan – dealing with the heartbreaks and the up and down roller-coaster ride,” said Caro. “It’s been a while since they’ve had a good run, but I’m feeling confident about this year

In the end, Engle was right to be nervous.

The U.S. squad, though, gave up fewer goals than Portugal during the group stage.

And so, despite finishing with the same record, they’re now one of the 16 teams whose dreams of winning the Jules Rimet trophy are still alive.

At Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant – a year-round soccer haven – fans went wild when time ran out on the U.S. game.

Angelique Linares, wearing a stars-striped themed tutu, jumped for joy. She couldn’t be happier about the U.S. advancing.

What’s more, she’s thrilled she doesn’t have to retire her World Cup get-up just yet.

“I am so excited. I can’t even put into words how excited I am,” said Linares.

Eric Spiegel high-fived a fellow fan as he made his way toward 15th Street. He said never thought he’d be this happy to lose.

“The optimist in me was hoping, but the realist in me didn’t think we were going to do it. But I’m glad I was wrong. And that’s the thing about this team, they just scrap out opportunities you didn’t think were there and that’s what makes it fun to be a fan,” said Spiegel.

The U.S. has its next match on Tuesday when the teams takes on Belgium.

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