Soccer fans skip work, pack the bar to cheer on USWNT in World Cup win

USA TODAY Sports Images

Soccer fans skip work, pack the bar to cheer on USWNT in World Cup win

WASHINGTON - Dozens of fans in red and white jerseys packed Mackey’s Public House in downtown D.C. Friday afternoon, chanting “U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A” in unison.

Dale’s Pale Ale – an official sponsor of the US Men’s and US Women’s National teams – flew off the bar counters. 

“It’s the most popular order on game day,” a bartender said.

Mackey’s is the official home of the American Outlaws D.C. chapter, and it was the top place to watch Friday’s US-France World Cup quarterfinal match.

A mid-workday match didn’t stop a variety of fans from cheering on their squad – though not all of them were eager to talk about where they spent the afternoon publicly.

Two government employees in suits left work early for the watch party, asking to stay anonymous for fear of losing their jobs.

One Premier League fan called in sick to work to come watch.

One man and his wife, both casual fans, took the day off work. 

One passionate soccer fan planned his entire week around this game.

And there’s non-USA fans, too.

French-American Jeremy Langlois and girlfriend Rachel couldn’t get into the watch party at the French Embassy because it sold out. He thought the American Outlaws watch party was the next-best option.

“I’ve gotten some looks,” Langlois said. “I’ve gotten some comments. A woman offered to buy me a U.S. jersey if I took my French jersey off.”

Langlois even brought a stuffed Footix, the mascot of the 1998 World Cup in France, which was also the first time France won the tournament.

“I bring him to everything,” Langlois said. “My grandmother bought him for me when I was four.”

Footix didn’t get help the French to a victory Friday, as the U.S. advanced, 2-1.

“It’s hard not to appreciate the U.S. women’s team in this tournament,” Langlois said. “It’s one of the best iterations of the sport in terms of the way I’ve ever seen it played… if we had to lose to anyone I would want it to be the US.”

Marcel Hillie, president of the American Outlaws D.C. chapter, said this crowd isn’t much different from a typical turnout. 

Fans from cities as far as San Diego and New York join the group at Mackey’s on match day. Hillie said watch parties end up feeling more like “class reunions.”

“You get addicted,” Hillie said. “You really form a bond with the community.”

Megan Rapinoe led the US to victory with the team’s only two goals. 

Rapinoe, who got into a war of words with Donald Trump earlier this week over a potential post-World Cup White House visit, earned a rowdy round of applause every time her face appeared on the TV screen. 

“They should feel empowered to speak their opinion,” Sam Kasner, AO D.C. chapter secretary, said of the players. “I’m here for them standing up for what they feel is right.”

The US Women’s team takes on England in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.


Premier League Roundup: Sheffield United avoids injury scare from Callum Robinson

Getty Images

Premier League Roundup: Sheffield United avoids injury scare from Callum Robinson

Two weeks into the Premier League season and there's already been a little bit of everything on the pitch. Teams are prepping for Matchday 3 and are having to navigate some early season injuries before getting there. 

Here are the latest news and notes surrounding the Premier League:

Team/Player News

Brighton & Hove Albion: Striker Tomer Hemed has departed for Championship side Charlton Athletic. The Israel international has been on the books at Albion for four seasons, scoring 33 times in 108 appearances for the club. He was a key part of Brighton's Championship squads, scoring in double figures for two seasons as they won promotion at the second attempt, though his game time has been limited since they made it to the top tier.

Chelsea: Full-back Davide Zappacosta has joined Roma on loan until January, with the deal including the option to extend the loan until the end of the year.    
Zappacosta saw his role reduce when Maurizio Sarri took control of the club, seeing just 125 minutes of league action during the 2018-19 season. Chelsea has also extended Zappacosta's contract through the 2022 season. 

Manchester City: There were concerns when Oleksandr Zinchenko went down clutching the back of his left thigh on Saturday (vs. Tottenham). However, after a brief pause in play, Zinchenko was cleared on-field to continue, and he completed 90 minutes. Speaking to CityTV after the match, he confirmed. "It was just a cramp. Everything is okay." 

Once again they could be without their center back John Stones who missed City's last match. City released a statement before their Tottenham tie on their revealing that Stones had "suffered a rectus femoris strain" which would keep him out of the match. Nicolas Otamendi was handed a recall, and the Argentine could continue at Bournemouth on Sunday as the thigh problem is likely to rule Stones out of game week three as well. "He has a muscular problem," Pep said in his post-match press conference. "A week to ten days [before he can return to play]."

There is good injury news though as defender Benjamin Mendy has returned to training for the first time since a long-term knee injury. He'll like have to battle Zinchenko for a starting spot as the Ukrainian has established himself as Pep Guardiola's first-choice left-back.

Sheffield United: The Republic of Ireland international, Callum Robinson, limped off with a muscular problem before the hour mark on Sunday, and there were fears that he could be set for spell out. But Robinson moved quickly to quell those fears by insisting he will be ready for the visit of Leicester citing fatigue and hamstring tightness. Robinson has been the preferred attacking partner of Dave McGoldrick in the first two games, but Chris Wilder would have no hesitation in selecting Oli McBurnie who is eager to impress following his arrival from Swansea. "You’ve seen a glimpse of what Oli offers you today, and I think everyone is excited," the United boss said post-match.

Source: NBC Sports Rotoworld


Why USWNT hero Rose Lavelle almost quit soccer as a teenager

Why USWNT hero Rose Lavelle almost quit soccer as a teenager

Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle joined Roger Bennett and Michael Davies for a live edition of their podcast Men in Blazers at the British Embassy on Monday.

Introduced as the player whose saucy nutmeg in the semifinal would be something England could never recover from, Lavelle discussed the afterglow of the World Cup win, how she fell in love with soccer and tweeting.

One moment that changed her course in soccer was getting cut from the Olympic Development Program at 13. The coach that cut her ended up being her coach at the University of Wisconsin, and that moment solidified her desire to move further up in the program.

"I had wanted to quit and my mom was like 'you have to finish the year,'" she said. "And then I got cut and she was like 'alright you can quit' and I was like 'NO!'

"I think I learn a lot more from the lows in my life than the highs and I feel like that's one of the moments I learned a lot about myself," Lavelle added.

The highlight of her time with the Men in Blazers was when she dramatically read some of her favorite tweets, in which she philosophizes about "canine obesity, parallel parking and the challenges of having to put on jeans two days in a row," according to Davies.

She started with the pressure of parallel parking in front of an onlooker.

"A lot goes into it [tweeting] but I have to make sure that the wording's right," Lavelle said. "It's kind of like a college paper just a lot less words. That's how much work goes into it."

Next, she lamented the fact that dogs can't consume chocolate without getting sick.

Lavelle has a dog of her own, a bulldog named Wilma Jean Wrinkles, who has her own Instagram account and lives in Cincinnati with her parents. (Wilma Jean Wrinkles was recently profiled in our Pro Pets series.)

Her final tweet was about her concerns on airplane etiquette.

"Here's what I love about your social media," Bennett said. "The Rose Lavelle as a football player on the field and the Rose Lavelle on social media are one and the same."

You can watch Lavelle's appearance on the Men In Blazers podcast on September 15 on NBC Sports Network as part of their Premier League coverage.