UPDATE: Fans pack Madison bar to watch USA draw 2-2 with Portuga - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Fans pack Madison bar to watch USA draw 2-2 with Portugal

Posted: Updated: Jun 22, 2014 08:31 PM

MADISON (WKOW) -- Fans turned out in force Sunday to cheer on the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team in its second game of the World Cup.

A couple hundred supporters clad in red, white and blue packed Hawk's Bar & Grill on State Street.

"In the daytime, this is probably the busiest you'll ever see us," said general manager Andrew Hoerig.

Hoerig said roughly 25 supporters showed up when the bar opened, at 10 a.m., ahead of the 5 p.m. kickoff.

"It was USA fans trying to get the right seats," he said.

"A lot of people who come here for games, they know what seats they want, so they get here as early as they can," Hoerig said.

Among those in the crowd were members of the American Outlaws -- a grassroots supporters club of Team USA.

"You take everything else away and you just cheer for your country," said USA soccer fan Bill Fetty. "You cheer for the person standing next to you. You cheer for the people you work with and for the people you live with."

"Watching the game with a huge group and feeding off of everyone's enthusiasm makes for a really unique experience," said Emily Martin, of the American Outlaws.

Team USA drew with Portugal 2-2. Portuguese attacker Varela headed home a sublime cross from star winger Cristiano Ronaldo in the game's final minutes.

"The way it happened was a little disappointing," said fan John Altenhofen. "But it's still a good result I guess."

The US team remains in contention for a place in the knockout round of 16. The US plays Germany Thursday at 11 a.m. on ESPN and can advance with a win or tie. A goal differential tie breaker would determine which squad advances if the US loses and either Portugal or Ghana emerges from their match up with a win.

Among the fans watching the World Cup closely is Jim Launder, coach of the Madison 56ers NPSL team.

Launder has coached four current, American players - Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, Damarcus Beasley and Matt Besler - in the past through Olympic development programs.

Launder said he has fond memories of all four as youths - especially Bradley, a central midfielder.

"Michael Bradley has become a tremendous passer. He puts balls in spaces for other people to get on to," Launder said. "He can also come forward and score a goal."

"What I remember, as a kid, is that we'd be doing training exercises and if we played a four vs. four game, no matter what we did, (Bradley) would always find a way for his team to win the game," Launder said.

Launder added he enjoys cheering on Guzan, Bradley, Besler and Beasley along with the rest of Team USA.

"Some of them you just hold a bag of balls for during practice," he said. "Others you do a little bit more."

"But you get attached to working with people and you hope they do well," Launder said. "It's really nice to see them doing that now."

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Fans are gathering at Madison bars and restaurants to cheer on the U.S. Men's Soccer Team in the World Cup Sunday evening.

USA plays Portugal starting at 5 p.m. If the U.S. wins, the team will advance to the Knockout matches of World Cup 2014.

We'll have an update on the game and reaction from fans in Madison tonight on 27 News at 10.

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