Nearly 20,000 fans left the World Cup viewing party at Grant Park disappointed by the loss to Germany, but relieved that the United States team survived to play on in the tournament.
"Even though we lose, we still win," said Ronald Ixcot, 16, of Humboldt Park. "We're still in. We made it, so there's still a good chance for us," he said.
Ixcot was among an estimated 18,000 fans who gathered at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park to watch the game on two large video screens. A U.S. Soccer official said the event went smoothly, and Chicago police and fire departments reported no arrests or injuries – just one citation for public urination.
“There were no issues and the crowd dispersed peacefully,” said Melissa Stratton, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Germany dominated most of the game, winning 1-0, but fans gasped over two near-miss shots by the U.S. team at the end. Because Portugal beat Ghana, the U.S. advanced to the next round.
Anya Vicenti, 22, who came with two friends who played soccer with her at Aurora University, shrugged at the loss. "They're still going to go on, but it would've been awesome if we could've gotten momentum into the next game," she said.
The U.S. team lost steam in the second half, she said.
"They really looked tired and they weren't on the attack," she said. "It seemed like they were playing to get to the next round."
Fans had bubbled with optimism before the game. Among them were six Andrew High School students who played soccer together, wore red white and blue, and chanted the U.S. rallying cry, “I believe that we will win!”
Stephanie and Will Fangman , 27 and 28, left their home in Kalamazoo, Mich. at 5 a.m. to wait in line to get in. They had heard about some of the crowd being turned away from a similar party on Sunday, but that was in a restricted area due to rain, and today’s party was in much larger Butler Field.
Organizers estimated Sunday’s crowd at 20,000, and anticipated even more today.
"Twenty thousand people cheering for the U.S.?" Stephanie Fangman said. "It doesn't get much better than that."
This is the third year that Will Fangman has followed the World Cup. "I think it's growing," he said. "Each year it gets bigger."
This year is more surprising than last, according to Nelia Salvi, 24, of Chicago. "There's so many unexpected results," Salvi said. "And teams nobody expects going through like Costa Rica topping their group."
Also in the crowd was Doris Timmen, a German who has lived in the United States for 20 years. She said she’s a “Chicagoan at heart," but was rooting for the German team.
Timmen took off work today and set up lawnchairs with fellow Germans in an area they called the "German Headquarters," from which they sent photos to friends and family in Germany.
"It's a very friendly atmosphere," she said. "That's what I love about American sport. They tend to be friendly and in good spirit."
Ralf Zehnter, Krystian Nowak and James Uhlen, all of Wuzburg, Germany, stood out in the sea of red, white and blue with their black and white German soccer shirts. The three play together on a soccer college team in Romeoville.
Wrapped in German flags, they did not appear daunted by the American fans around them.
"America is not very excited about soccer, but when the World Cup is going on everybody goes crazy," Zehnter said.
One local company, Retale, had its own viewing party. Retale is the Chicago-based unit of Bonial International Group, a shopping information company headquartered in Berlin. Several of Chicago branch’s employees are German, forming a divide between the company’s fervent German and U.S. fans.
Tim Gray said the company gave its employees the morning and afternoon off to attend an office viewing party, where they could enjoy the game on a big screen television with food and beer.
Bonial International Group CEO Christian Gaiser said before the game that while he supported the German team, he hoped both Germany and the U.S. could advance to the World Cup’s round of 16. “If it advances, I think the U.S. will develop a stronger appetite for soccer,” he said.