FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The USA vs. Portugal soccer game Sunday night had fans in Fairfield biting their nails. Now they hope the home team can tie with Germany on Thursday to make it into the next round of the World Cup.
Sunday's game almost ended in a win for the USA team, which would have secured their spot in the brackets. But Portugal tied it up in the last 30 seconds of the game.
Sal Baldi of Trumbull, store manager of the Soccer and Ruby Imports in Fairfield, said customers were in the store Sunday night just watching the game.
“It was crowded here,” he said, adding that the World Cup is “bringing more people into the store.”
On Sunday, they sold dozens of USA jerseys, mainly for forward Clint Dempsey, midfielder Michael Bradely and goalkeeper Tim Howard, Baldi said. But the World Cup jerseys from other countries and balls have been popular as well, he said.
Bridgeport resident Frankie D’Auria is a sales associate at the Soccer and Rugby Imports store in Fairfield, and said he watched the match Sunday night at Anna Liffey’s on the Post Road.
“It was amazing,” D’Auria said. “You could feel the American spirit in the air.”
It's great to see how people are getting excited for soccer, he said. He hopes that the USA team goes far in the tournament.
Fairfield resident Ezequiel Villa says he’s mainly rooting for Mexico – he bought a new Mexico jersey Monday afternoon . But the team from the United States, which has been his home for the last 25 years, has been amazing this year, he said.
“I almost burst into tears at the end,” Villa said of the end of the game Sunday night. He said he hopes the game Thursday will end in a tie -- or a win -- so the USA team will advance.
But not everyone was as optimistic about the chances or the USA.
“Germany is going to beat the USA,” 10-year-old Westport resident Luca Robins predicted. But he wasn’t happy about it. “I hate Germany.”
He said he had originally been rooting for England, though its losses in the first two games in the group series will keep it out of the running.
The next game for the United States is against Germany, starting at noon Thursday, June 26.