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.”
When the Thierry Henry Jersey doubles as an Amandine Henry jersey. pic.twitter.com/Ys6nZvu8WV— Julia Karron (@jkitsjulia) June 28, 2019
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.
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