As U.S. loses World Cup quarterfinal game to Belgium, Long Island fans' hearts break

Fans gathered at Declan Quinn's in Bay Shore on July 1, 2014, for a World Cup viewing party and went home disappointed after the USA lost to Belgium, 2-1, in the Round of 16. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)

Fans gathered at Declan Quinn's in Bay Shore on July 1, 2014, for a World Cup viewing party and went home disappointed after the USA lost to Belgium, 2-1, in the Round of 16. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)

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So much sweat and heartbreak poured out Tuesday in the U.S. team's World Cup soccer match against the Belgians -- and that was just at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square, where fans had to walk outside to cool off from the drama.

The crowd of about 750 moaned as one when the U.S. team just missed goals, screamed when the other team failed, then fell silent when the 2-1 extra-time score ousted the American team from the quarterfinals.

"The worst part of all is that they have to wait another four years," Peter Crisci, 30, a math teacher from Franklin Square, said at the German beer garden.

It was the same scene at many Long Island watering holes, which have become the World Cup-watching venue to many soccer fans. People called in sick to work because they had soccer fever. And fans who religiously follow soccer brought friends and family, hoping to convert them.

At Declan Quinn's Bay Shore bar and restaurant, the boisterous crowd of more than 350 had their hearts on more than just their sleeves. They wore red, white and blue on their capes, scarves, jerseys and more.

"People like to get together because it's America, even if they don't usually follow the sport," said Sayville fan Dillon Monsees, 23, who came with his ex-Marine father, Tyler, 47.

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They broke into song frequently, many with their eyes locked on television screens, as they sang "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Yanks" or "When the Yanks go marching in."

Cheers of joy and cries of despair could both be heard down the block from Declan Quinn's bar, home to the Long Island chapter of The American Outlaws United States Soccer Supporters.

"We're not at the game," said chapter president Ramon Leiva, 24, of Bay Shore, "but it's an at-game atmosphere."

The fans were equally dedicated at Plattduetsche, shouting "USA, USA." Under U.S. and German flags, several screens and two projectors transported fans to Arena Fonte Nova in the Brazilian coastal city of Salvador. At one point, after the Belgians had scored, a bartender with a megaphone jumped on top of the bar, shouting "I believe in USA."

As the game careened back and forth between optimism and disappointment, moans and clapping, one hope was constant. Long Island soccer fans said they dreamed of a victory to help make soccer a prime sport in this country.

Joe Farrell, 43, who coaches the West Islip Soccer Club, brought a hockey fan and friend Randy Grove, 44, for his first taste of a soccer game. The coach had been hoping a U.S. victory would give the world one more soccer nation.

"It's good for youth sports and youth soccer in America," said Farrell, of West Islip. "This country might finally embrace the sport."

In the end, fans hugged, cursed or drank shots out of sadness before dispersing into the evening.

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Still, Joel Iglesias, 23, of Brentwood, saw the bright side of how far the U.S. team had gone: "Better than what we expected. . . . We should just be happy about that."

With Ellen Yan

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