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USA draws SCV crowds for World Cup

Posted: June 16, 2014 7:05 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2014 7:05 p.m.

Soccer fans celebrate Team USA's World Cup win over Ghana at the Rose and Crown British Restaurant in Newhall on Monday. Signal photo by Mason Nesbitt

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As the United States Men’s National Soccer Team scored during the first minute Monday, Greg Montgomery, visiting Santa Clarita from San Antonio, Texas, on business, was at BJ’s Restaurant in Valencia to watch it.

“It was beautiful,” he said of the goal.

Did the place get loud? “Oh, yeah,” he said.

BJ’s bar area spilled out into open seating with patrons dining and watching one of at least 11 TV screens showing the U.S. game.

The crowd cheered at a diving save by U.S. goalie Tim Howard in the first half, and collectively gasped moments later when a Ghana player inadvertently kicked Clint Dempsey in the face, leaving the U.S. captain bloodied on the ground.

Bob Fitzgerald of Saugus went to BJ’s to watch the U.S. but was disappointed not to find a bar decked out in banners like other establishments in Santa Monica, he said.

What he didn’t know was that across town, the Rose and Crown British Restaurant on Lyons Avenue was showing the game more in the manner he desired.

The small British restaurant’s walls and patrons were equally covered in team USA spirit: banners, hair ribbons and painted faces all in red, white and blue.

James Dunfee of Newhall dragged a friend along to the pub to watch his team.

“We won’t win the World Cup,” Dunfee said of the U.S., “we’re just not that good, but looking at our growth it’s worth watching now.”

A waiter said the bar drew a larger crowd for England’s match against Italy on Saturday; during the U.S. game there was at least room to move around, he said.

“Ten more minutes, 10 more minutes,” a man near the projector screen said, urging the U.S. to hold its 1-0 lead at the 80-minute mark in the game.

Then Ghana scored.

“No!” one woman could be heard above other fans’ dismay.

But with six minutes left in the match, the resilient crowd began to chant “USA, USA, USA.”

At about the 86-minute mark a John Brooks’ header found the back of the net for the U.S. off a corner kick.
Hands went up, lips puckered to whistle, and that “USA” chant picked up again, this time with more fervor. The U.S. won its opening game in the 2014 World Cup 2-1.

The Americans play their next game Sunday against Portugal at 3 p.m.




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