Folks across Southern California today are flocking to bars, restaurants, stadiums and other watch parties in hopes that history will repeat itself as brave young American misfits seek victory over veteran Britain, indeed enduring international football kings .
The World Cup game started at 11am Los Angeles time, which meant players at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, had a late night start at 10pm. The game is expected to be a tough – but not impossible – battle for the US team.
England is currently fifth in FIFA’s rankings, while the United States is 16th. The Three Lions come into the game confident after Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran, while the USA men’s team also start Monday after a 1-1 draw with Wales.
Southlanders are excited to see how the USA men’s team will defy the odds. Check out the multitude of parties, from the pubs of South Bay to the sports bars of Long Beach and the breweries of San Gabriel Valley to a football stadium in Orange County.
Many local parties are organized by the American Outlaws, a national support group for the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams, which lists the locations of various chapter parties on its website.
And in true Los Angeles fashion, one of the biggest events is being hosted just steps from the sand, as the LA Galaxy partnered with the City of Hermosa Beach to bring a giant screen TV to Hermosa Beach’s Pier Plaza. Watch parties for the France-Denmark game at 8am and the Mexico-Argentina game at 11am will also be held at this location on Saturday.
The LA Galaxy is a Los Angeles-based Major League Soccer team that also operates a training academy to nurture the next generation of US soccer stars.
One of their prodigies – Haji Wright – plays as a forward on the US men’s team. He coached at Galaxy from 2012 to 2015 before signing with New York Cosmos. The US men’s team has another Angeleno in midfielder Cristian Roldan, a graduate of El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.
Also among Southern California viewing party sites:
- Orange County Soccer Club hosts World Cup party at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine’s Great Park;
- The 4th & Mill Bar and Grill at Ranch Cucamonga was expecting a full house;
- Long Beach’s Legends, a steadfast sports bar on Belmont Shore’s Second Street; and
- dozens of others.
At this point, USA does not need to win the game to stand a chance of advancing to the single-elimination rounds of the World Cup. If the team loses to England, they can still finish in the top two of their group of four – the requirement for promotion – by beating Iran in their match on Tuesday 29 November.
Still, a US win would improve their chances of advancement, as they would only need to draw level with Iran to finish in the top two. A loss to England and Iran would mean elimination for the US