Sports Commission Hosts Watch Party Series
The United States Men's National Team (USMNT) faced off against Wales on Monday, November, 21. It was a brisk but sunny morning and despite the early start on a work day, the people of Eugene were eager to show support for their team at the most celebrated soccer tournament in the world!
The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, in partnership with Lane United FC, Direct Kick Soccer Shop, and the City of Eugene, hosted a World Cup Watch Party to cheer on the United States Men's National Team as they faced off against Wales. This was their first World Cup match in eight years and resulted in a 1-1 tie at the end of the 90 minutes of play. The watch party was hosted at the new Farmers Market Pavilion in downtown Eugene. About 150 fans showed up, all enjoying some coffee from Palace Bakery, food from PIzzeria DOP, and beverages provided by Viking Braggot.
On top of enjoying local food and drink, fans were treated to a fresh brand of USMNT soccer. For the more casual fan, long gone are the days of Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, and Michael Bradley. New faces took the pitch against Wales. In fact, of the 11 starters, not a single American had ever played in a World Cup. And unlike years past, nearly all of the starting eleven represented clubs outside of the United States domestic Major League Soccer (MLS) league. Instead, they play for top European clubs such as Chelsea FC in London, Leeds United also in England, AC Milan and Juventus in Italy, and Valencia CF in Spain. Additionally, the average age of the USMNT is just 25 years and 214 days. This new talent in the squad means USA fans at the World Cup watch party were treated to an exciting attacking brand of soccer which saw Timothy Weah score the first goal of the match assisted by star player Christian Pulisic. Against Wales, the United States had nearly 60% ball possession throughout the match and over 100 more completed passes than their opposition, demonstrating a completely new approach to World Cup games than USMNT squads of the past.
After the initial watch party at the Farmers Market Pavilion, the festivities continued at PublicHouse in Springfield and the Better Living Room by Ninkasi in Eugene. Fans enjoyed matches such as Belgium vs. Canada, Argentina vs. Mexico, Spain vs. Germany, and Portugal vs. Uruguay, as well as the other two USA games against England and Iran. Each watch party showed strong support for the USMNT as well as those other high-profile games in the group stages of the World Cup. The Sports Commission is ecstatic to see the effort put into organizing these watch parties pay off with resounding success and positive community involvement.
Thank you to our partners Lane United FC, Direct Kick Soccer Shop, the City of Eugene, PublicHouse and Better Living Room by Ninkasi. Thank you to our food vendors Viking Braggot, Pizzeria DOP and Palace Bakery. And many thanks to KMTR and Hayden Herrera for the local news coverage.
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