Adam Gershowitz, 25, stood inside a bar at Power Plant Live! a half hour before the United States was set to take on Germany on Thursday.
He was decked out in American gear, highlighted by a pair of red, white and blue suspenders he got as a birthday gift.
“Our destiny is in our own hands,” Gershowitz said.
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The grounds weren’t too packed to begin with, but as the game approached fans started to trickle into the outdoor area. They watched on a 20-foot projection screen as the United States lost 1-0.
Fans moaned when Germany scored, cheered whenever the U.S. got near the goal and breathed a sigh of relief when the Americans were able to advance into the knockout round despite the defeat.
Gary and Andrew, two 27-year-old lacrosse coaches, left early from a camp they coach at to come watch the game.
“We just snuck out of there,” said Gary, who didn’t want to disclose his last name. “[The camp] is ending right now.
Then Andrew chimed in.
“We kind of booked it,” Andrew said. “There’s other things to go look at and watch, but this is more important.
Will they be penalized for their act of patriotism?
“I think we’ll be applauded,” Andrew said. “We showed our true American spirit.”
Taylor Redding, 22 and from Carroll County, runs her own company, so she calls the shots. She and her friend Rachel Palmer, 23 and of Prince George’s County, left work to watch the game.
Minutes later, the match began. Germany dominated possession, but the U.S. kept fending off their steady stream of chances. Midway through the first half, with the score knotted at 0-0, one fan clad in a blue Landon Donovan jersey turned to his friend.
“If we score, I’m literally going to [go to the bathroom in my pants],” he said.
Instead, Germany scored on a goal from Thomas Müller in the 55th minute. The U.S. was down, but it still had a chance to advance with a little help from Portugal.
When Cristiano Ronaldo delivered the game-winning goal for Portugal in the 80th minute, fans at Power Plant knew the United States was destined for the Round of 16.
They belted out a collective “I Believe” chant and celebrated. The final seconds ticked off the clock in both games, and the U.S. officially moved on to the knockout stage.
“It’s pretty weird cheering for a loss,” Baltimore resident Michael Millman, 22, said, “but a loss that you know advances you to the next round is fun for the U.S.”
Millman and his friend Adam Davey were proud to represent their country, and they plan on coming back for the next game on Tuesday afternoon. Millman just graduated from the University of Maryland and doesn’t start work for a couple of weeks, though he said he would have missed work anyway while Davey had the day off.
“We’re not the biggest soccer-oriented country, or should I say ‘Futbol,’ but it was pretty great,” Millman said, “and I’m pretty confident with us in the next round.”