How US soccer fans in OKC celebrated the win vs. Iran to reach World Cup Round of 16
EDMOND — Taylor Lynch anxiously stared at the TV.
A few pints of Guinness were spread out on the table, some empty and some still full. But none of them helped calm his nerves.
Lynch and his two friends, Hank and TJ Holland, were at Skinny Slim’s, a British-inspired pub that held a watch party for the United States men’s national soccer team’s World Cup match against Iran on Tuesday.
The U.S. needed a win to advance to the tournament’s Round of 16, and Lynch cleared out his schedule to watch the high-stakes match.
“I told my team before the World Cup started that I’m taking off whenever the U.S. is playing,” said Lynch, who works in finances. “I think they’ll be fine if every four years I have to take off a couple of times.”
Skinny Slim’s is the go-to spot for Lynch and his friends.
The modest pub consists of two TVs and no more than 30 seats, but it comes alive whenever the U.S. plays. Patriotic patrons pack the area, which has various soccer scarves hanging from the ceiling.
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“This (atmosphere) isn’t comparable,” said Hank Holland, who got Lynch into soccer during their high school days. “I mean, it’s 1 o’clock on a Tuesday. It’s a good time whenever you’re drinking and cheering on USA.”
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. found itself one win away from reaching the Round of 16 for the first time since 2014.
And there was tension at Skinny Slim’s.
The U.S. recorded nine shots, including three on target, in the first 45 minutes. Each near-goal drew a reaction from the crowd, which anxiously waited to see a shot find the back of the net.
Then it happened.
Sergino Dest fired a header toward Christian Pulisic in the 38th minute, and Pulisic snuck the ball past Iran’s goalkeeper with a swift swing of his right foot.
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Lynch, his friends and everyone else at Skinny Slim’s erupted at the sight of the goal.
“Goals in soccer are just fun,” said TJ Holland, Hank’s younger brother. “Obviously there’s a lot of back and forth. But when someone pushes one in and you go from 0-0 to 1-0, there’s like this relief and excitement because we’re now in control of the game.”
The U.S. never lost control. It went on to earn a 1-0 win over Iran to advance to the Round of 16.
Next up is an elimination game against Netherlands at 9 a.m. Saturday, and Lynch and his friends have no intentions of missing it.
“It’s huge,” Hank Holland said. “To be able to advance in this tournament and grow on that (is) huge.”
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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: World Cup: United States fans celebrate win vs. Iran in Oklahoma City