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Early-Morning Surprise Thrills the Fanatics

June 06, 2002

Meanwhile, across America, U.S. soccer fans got up early--or stayed up late--and watched their World Cup team face European powerhouse Portugal.

Two hours after the early-morning start, they had to wipe their eyes not because they were tired, but to make sure they believed what they saw.

In Kansas City, Mo., dawn was breaking as more than 400 fans--fueled by 22 1/2 gallons of coffee and 20 dozen doughnuts--celebrated the Americans' victory at a party held by the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.

The crowd was even larger than diehard soccer fans like Nathan Hunold expected.

"I thought there were going to be about 30 people," the title company worker said. "I think this shows how far the game has progressed in the U.S. It has a long way to go, but it's come a long way since it started."

Near Rochester, N.Y., more than 200 fans gathered at Soccer Sam's Pizza & Pasta Cafe in Webster to watch and cheer the U.S. team.

"This is unbelievable," said Kevin White, 25, of Walworth. "We were just praying for a tie going into this match."


Compiled by Jim Barrero

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