By Peggy Taylor
“Burn the clock! Burn the clock!” shouted the nearly 300 Team USA fans who packed the Amity Hall Sports Bar on Amsterdam (108/109) to help the team stave off elimination by Iran and move to Round 16 of the 2022 World Cup.
Following its double draws with England and Wales, a goal by Iran or even a draw would have sent Team USA home packing. But as the clock ticked down and with its back against the wall, Team USA displayed grit and guts and ended up with a 1-0 win. (A second goal by Brooklyn’s Timothy Weah near the end of the first half was unfortunately disallowed after it was ruled offsides.) Quite a feat for a team which didn’t qualify for the Cup in 2018.
I watched the nail-biting, do-or-die, heart-stopping match at two popular sports bars. Saw the first half at Blondie’s on West 79th (between Broadway and Amsterdam), where, enjoying lobster bisque and Buffalo wings, I joined about 40 other fans cheering forward Christian Pulisic (from Hershey, Pennsylvania), who injured himself scoring Team USA’s sole but decisive goal.
For the second half, I bussed up to Amity Hall (Amsterdam between 108/109) where I joined 300 plus fans packed to the rafters (standing room only!) as they downed beers and craned their necks to take in the action on 16 overhead TV monitors.
The tension was thick; the fear of loss palpable; the suspense unbearable. And it was made all the more nerve wracking when Iran nearly drew a penalty in one of the final kicks of the game. It was win or go home. A draw or a loss and we were done. But somehow our pleas and cheers reached Qatar. The team felt our high fives and fist pumps, heard our moans and groans when we thought we might lose. They came through. They won. We won and now face the Netherlands on Saturday morning.