U.S. fans pack Bellingham pubs and restaurants for World Cup


— BELLINGHAM - It wasn't the win or draw U.S. soccer fans were looking for, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of more than 100 people at the Copper Hog.

As the final whistle blew in the 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday, June 26, local fans erupted in cheers, chants and songs. That's because even with the loss, the U.S. soccer team was able to advance into the knockout round by edging out Portugal for second place in Group G.

The U.S. will play Belgium in the round of 16 at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 1.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was a good performance by the U.S.," said Bellingham resident John Banasick, who arrived early to get a seat in the center area of the Copper Hog bar. "Germany was clearly the best team in the group, and to hold them to one goal just shows how close the U.S. is to the top teams."

With a 9 a.m. start, Bellingham fans streamed into downtown pubs and restaurants. While a few fans were hoisting pints of beer at the Copper Hog, the morning match meant many people were ordering breakfast and coffee. Several men were sporting ties and dress shirts, looking like they were heading into the office after the match.

The drums came out and the songs and chants were played throughout the match, even though the German team was dominating possession. Any German fans in the crowd kept a low profile.

Some of the biggest cheers came late in the match, when Seattle Sounder DeAndre Yedlin came on as a substitute.

In assessing the first stage for the U.S., Banasick said the most satisfying match was the June 16 win over Ghana. He's closely watched the past five World Cups, and went to South Africa in 2010, where he watched Ghana knock the U.S. out of that World Cup.

"That win against Ghana (on June 16) gave the U.S. everything they needed to get to this point," Banasick said, referring to the fact the U.S. was able to advance.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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