Fans at bars all over Fairfield County exploded in jubilation as Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal for the United States Wednesday in a 1-0 win over Algeria. The victory sent Team USA into the next round. Taverns such as Tiernan's Pub and Restaurant in Stamford, the Black Rock Tavern in Fairfield, and O'Neills Pub and Restaurant in Norwalk opened their doors extra early to accommodate eager soccer fans.
"We were here around 9 o'clock to get the beers nice and cold," co-owner of O'Neills Pub, Danny Leahey, said. "An Irish pub usually shows all kinds of sports. We were going to be watching the games ourselves, so why not open up the doors and let other people come?"
Many bars and restaurants have caught World Cup fever with 30, 40, and even 50 people making the 10 a.m. start time for the U.S Algeria game.
"People came with their flags and faces painted," Black Rock Tavern owner, Rafael Palomino, said. "It was very exciting."
After more than 90 tense minutes filled with many "ooh's," "ahh's," and a fair share of groans, it looked like the U.S. faithful might go home with nothing to show for a fantastic effort. When Donovan finally netted the game-winner, however, it sent spectators in bars jumping and yelling for joy.
"The place went absolutely crazy," Kerry McClintock, a manager at Tiernan's said. "We couldn't believe it. It was amazing."
Those who came out to watch the U.S. advance to the round of 16 are certainly ignited by the team's performance. The fact they did it so dramatically only added to the meaning of the win.
"Perseverance is one of the principles of this country," Palomino said. "Failure is not an option."
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