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Soccer fans pack Market Square to watch U.S.-Belgium World Cup game

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By Megan Harris
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 10:42 a.m.
 

Nick Potts, 19, fluffed his fake mullet over a tattered American flag cape. He walked away from Market Square twice on Tuesday. Both times, he left without a win.

“I usually watch at my house,” the Robinson man said, “but this game meant a lot more.”

Pittsburgh police estimate at least 3,500 fans donned red, white and blue to cheer on the U.S. men's national team as it battled Belgium for a historic chance at the quarterfinals in the World Cup.

America fell 2-1 in extra time to Belgium, but Downtown, they believed.

Kevin Lintelman, 29, still in his apron, slipped out of kitchen duties at Butcher in the Rye to catch a few minutes of the first half. He threw parties at his home in Plum for the first two matches. For the third and fourth, he tried to watch on his phone.

“It's hard to focus, you know?” Lintelman said. “I want to see them win.”

Hosted by the city of Pittsburgh and the nonprofit Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the open-air watch party drew businessmen, parents and crop-top-clad teenagers to the same 16-by-9-foot high-resolution LED big screen organizers use outside Consol Energy Center during Pittsburgh Penguins playoff games.

Deyoniah Simmons, 9, wiped her brow in the 90 degree heat. Her patriotic balloon antlers were heavy, the Pittsburgh girl said.

Jim Duessel, 23, of Hampton sported a crimson tie over a tailored, navy suit. He usually gets off at 5 p.m., he said, but the assistant portfolio manager worked a little faster on Tuesday.

For the second consecutive World Cup, America had a chance for a fresh start.

“People act like soccer is something new, but it isn't,” said James Snyder, 17, of Carroll Township. “The game is growing all over, especially in Pittsburgh, so something like this is great.”

Still scoreless at the end of regulation, heads fell when Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne lobbed the ball just right of American goalie Tim Howard's arm in the 93rd minute.

“I actually skipped class to be here,” said Penn State student Zachary Wilson, 19, adjusting a red, white and blue lei. “I wanted to be with like-minded people for this one.”

Twelve minutes later, Belgium's second goal ripped through the crowd. Like Potts, dozens packed up their towels and chairs, only to sprint back — flags hoisted high — two minutes later when 19-year-old rookie winger Julian Green scored for Team USA.

“This is what I love about Pittsburgh. It's so vibrant,” said Tove Stigum, 49, who moved Downtown two weeks ago.

She was already a soccer fan, she said.

Pittsburgh is growing on her, too.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Nick Sohyda, 18, of South Fayette, waves the stars and stripes as fans gather in Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The game was broadcast live on a big screen usually used adjacent to CONSOL Energy Center to broadcast the Penguins' playoff games. The event was organized by City of Pittsburgh government and the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Nick Sohyda, 18, of South Fayette, waves the stars and stripes as fans gather in Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The game was broadcast live on a big screen usually used adjacent to CONSOL Energy Center to broadcast the Penguins' playoff games. The event was organized by City of Pittsburgh government and the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Stage AE on the North Shore fills up with soccer fans before the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Stage AE on the North Shore fills up with soccer fans before the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Dominic Emiliani and his parents, Natalie and Jim, cheer at the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match, which was shown during a Stage AE viewing party on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Dominic Emiliani and his parents, Natalie and Jim, cheer at the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match, which was shown during a Stage AE viewing party on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Simranjit Waseer (left) and Zachary Lelich (right) both of Greensburg, are unable to hide their disappointment in Team USA’s loss to Belgium in the World Cup. The two were part of a crowd that gathered for a viewing party on Tuesday, July, 1, 2014, at Stage AE on the North Shore.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Simranjit Waseer (left) and Zachary Lelich (right) both of Greensburg, are unable to hide their disappointment in Team USA’s loss to Belgium in the World Cup. The two were part of a crowd that gathered for a viewing party on Tuesday, July, 1, 2014, at Stage AE on the North Shore.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Matt Fetch (center in red), 20, of Hopewell grasps his head with fellow fans in Market Square in Downtown as they watch time run out for Team USA as they play Belgium in overtime during their World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Matt Fetch (center in red), 20, of Hopewell grasps his head with fellow fans in Market Square in Downtown as they watch time run out for Team USA as they play Belgium in overtime during their World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Trash lies on the ground in Market Square in Downtown as fans leave after the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Police estimated about 3,500 people showed up in the square to watch the event, which stretched into overtime. Some fans stayed to help the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership 'Clean Team' clean up. 'We had a lot of volunteers, even little kids were helping,' said Clean Team worker Scott Starr, 54, of Millvale.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Trash lies on the ground in Market Square in Downtown as fans leave after the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Police estimated about 3,500 people showed up in the square to watch the event, which stretched into overtime. Some fans stayed to help the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership 'Clean Team' clean up. 'We had a lot of volunteers, even little kids were helping,' said Clean Team worker Scott Starr, 54, of Millvale.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Fans cram into Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The game was broadcast live on a big screen usually used adjacent to CONSOL Energy Center to broadcast the Penguins' playoff games. The event was organized by City of Pittsburgh government and the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Fans cram into Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The game was broadcast live on a big screen usually used adjacent to CONSOL Energy Center to broadcast the Penguins' playoff games. The event was organized by City of Pittsburgh government and the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Police estimated about 3,500 fans filled Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Police estimated about 3,500 fans filled Market Square in Downtown to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Team USA fans Melinda Lieb (left), 26, of Monroeville, Caitlin Borden (center), 26, of Shadyside, and Jeff Besong, 23, of Sewickley, react to another great save by goal keeper Tim Howard as they watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Team USA fans Melinda Lieb (left), 26, of Monroeville, Caitlin Borden (center), 26, of Shadyside, and Jeff Besong, 23, of Sewickley, react to another great save by goal keeper Tim Howard as they watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Nicole Hume (center), 19, of Peters Township, clutches the American flag as she watches the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Nicole Hume (center), 19, of Peters Township, clutches the American flag as she watches the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Jonathan Brander of Connellsville (middle) prays in the last seconds of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Jonathan Brander of Connellsville (middle) prays in the last seconds of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Eva Graham (left) of Wilkinsburg, Matt Fetch (center), 20, of Hopewell, and Amanda Silay (right),22, of Avalon, clasp their hands together as they watch the USA play Belgium in overtime. City of Pittsburgh government and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership organized to have the World Cup match play on a big screen in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Eva Graham (left) of Wilkinsburg, Matt Fetch (center), 20, of Hopewell, and Amanda Silay (right),22, of Avalon, clasp their hands together as they watch the USA play Belgium in overtime. City of Pittsburgh government and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership organized to have the World Cup match play on a big screen in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Griffin Nelson, 16, of Mount Lebanon, presses his noisemakers to his head as he watches the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Griffin Nelson, 16, of Mount Lebanon, presses his noisemakers to his head as he watches the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium pulled ahead of the Team USA during overtime, winning in the end 2-1.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Fans react as they watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Police estimated about 3,500 people showed up in the square to watch the event which stretched into overtime.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Fans react as they watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match in Market Square in Downtown on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Police estimated about 3,500 people showed up in the square to watch the event which stretched into overtime.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Joshua Weiss (left) and Anthony Seibel (right) of Lawrenceville nervously wait for the first half of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match to end while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Joshua Weiss (left) and Anthony Seibel (right) of Lawrenceville nervously wait for the first half of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match to end while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Fans react to the U.S. missing a chance to score against Belgium while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Fans react to the U.S. missing a chance to score against Belgium while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Brad Baumiller of Baldwin (left) and Patrick Hart of London (right) celebrate after the U.S. scored during extra time against Belgium. They were at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Brad Baumiller of Baldwin (left) and Patrick Hart of London (right) celebrate after the U.S. scored during extra time against Belgium. They were at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Anthony Seibel of Lawrenceville shades his face while watching the first half of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Anthony Seibel of Lawrenceville shades his face while watching the first half of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Brad Baumiller of Baldwin (middle) takes off his hat for the playing of the United States' national anthem before the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Brad Baumiller of Baldwin (middle) takes off his hat for the playing of the United States' national anthem before the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Emily Harger | Tribune-Review - Fans await the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Fans await the start of the U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup match while at the Stage AE viewing party Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
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