Joseph Perry interrupted a conference call Friday with a cry of delight as the U.S. World Cup team scored its first goal early in the second half of its match against Slovenia.
Perry, an accountant in Melville, was outside the Changing Times Sports Pub in Farmingdale, where he and co-workers had come to watch the United States attempt a second-half comeback from a two-goal deficit.
The Bay Shore man said he had been playing soccer for 40 years until a knee injury forced him to stop last year.
Perry, 44, said his enthusiasm for the sport has increased in that time.
The bar Friday was mostly full.
"It was great to see the cheering that went on," Perry said.
Fans had taken early lunches, with or without their boss' permission, to watch the game.
"I said to my boss it happens every four years, I want to take a few hours," said Patrick Conklin, 47, an insurance agent from Bethpage. "He said, 'Go USA."
A group of four other fans at the bar declined to be interviewed by Newsday because they were supposed to be at work.
Chris Liebe, 28 of Deer Park, was given a reprieve from work at a nearby call center to watch the second half.
He was frustrated a potential winning U.S. goal in the 86th minute was overturned by an offsides call.
The U.S. team tied Slovenia, 2-2, on Friday to keep alive the Americans' chances of advancing in the World Cup.
"It should have been a win," Liebe said.
Jeff Egan, 48, who owns the bar said he had been opening early for World Cup games. Friday's U.S.-Slovenia match began at 10 a.m.
The matches have brought new customers and an ethnic flavor, he said, with fans from different countries coming to support their team.
Egan said some of his normal customers haven't warmed to soccer, but that the World Cup and global events like the Olympics have united Jets fans and Giants fans, Met's fans and Yankees fans.
Egan said enthusiasm for the sport goes only so far at his bar.
Perry and Liebe said they considered soccer the "real football."
Egan said the Jets and Giants still reign at his bar.
"At Changing Times, there's only one real football," he said.