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Jun 23, 2014 1:33 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Soccer fans pack Tucson bars

TUCSON - Local bars were packed with red, white and blue for a big game Sunday, and it was not for the Arizona Wildcats.

The USA soccer team could have advanced to the next round in the World Cup if it would have beaten Portugal Sunday.

The Playground's manager, Karl Goranowski, said he was busier than during the last Wildcats Elite 8 basketball game.

"These are legit guys," Goranowski said. "We've had about a hundred people for a friendly match versus Azerbaijan. We're not talking about people that are just Johnny-come-lately."

FC Tucson head coach, Rick Schantz, watched the game at The Playground Sunday. He was impressed by the crowd.

"This is something that I would have never have guessed would happen in our country," Schantz said. "But I'm so excited. I'm so proud. I think that the culture in the United States is really changing, and soccer is the sport of the future."

The Playground will open at 7 a.m. Thursday for the 9 a.m. game. Goranowski expects to be at capacity by 7:15 a.m. Team USA advances with a win or tie against Germany.

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