— City of Boston (@NotifyBoston) June 26, 2014
BOSTON — Late Thursday morning, an hour before kickoff, U.S. soccer fans were streaming into Boston’s Government Center.
“I believe that we will win!” the chant went.
Thousands packed City Hall Plaza for a viewing party — hosted by Mayor Marty Walsh and the New England Revolution — for the U.S.-Germany World Cup match.
Most fans wore red, white and blue, and some, like Rick Indorato of Revere, were wearing nothing but American flag-styled attire.
“Always play for a win, no matter what,” Indorato said before the match, when it was up in the air whether the U.S. would move on to the round of 16. “You always want to be No. 1.”
Despite losing 1-0 to Germany, the U.S. is still moving on. Thanks to tiebreakers, the team will play at least one more game.
Indorato called the massive turnout at City Hall encouraging, but is still not sure that soccer has really caught on in the United States.
“People just aren’t interested in it,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll ever be as popular as worldwide.”
Other soccer fans are not so sure.
Brian Bilello, president of the Revolution, thinks back to 1994, when the U.S. hosted the World Cup.
There was no Major League Soccer at the time, but it was still one of the most successful FIFA events in history — shattering previous attendance records by more than 1 million.
Check. Out. This. Crowd. pic.twitter.com/Rr4cbHdIET
— Jack Lepiarz (@Lepiarz) June 26, 2014
Bilello admitted Thursday that soccer still is not as popular as the nation’s other big four sports, but he said it’s well on its way.
“I’m so close to it, so I see it,” he said. “I’ve seen a very steady growth. I think the explosion’s really been the last eight years, and it’s still on a huge upward trajectory as a sport.”
Other fans at the watch party described themselves as casual fans. But many of them said they took long lunches, or even skipped work altogether, to watch the game.
They’ll get at least one more chance to watch Team USA. The next U.S. game will be against Belgium or Algeria.