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At SteelStacks viewing party, fans of all ages cheer U.S. women in World Cup

More than one soccer fan milling around SteelStacks on Sunday before the U.S. took on Chile in the FIFA Women’s World Cup yearned to see something less lopsided than the Americans’ last match.“I’m hoping for a little more stiff competition,” said Jervis Roberts, recalling Tuesday’s record-setting 13-0 rout of a hopelessly outgunned Thailand team. The blowout drew a bit of criticism because the U.S. squad’s late-game celebrations reinforced what everyone already knew — the defending World Cup champs are a mighty force.Soccer fan Jervis Roberts of Bethlehem said the U.S. team is the best in the World Cup, along with France. (SHARON K. MERKEL / Special to The Morning Call/)Roberts, a native of Jamaica who has lived in the U.S. for 20 years and plays soccer in the Allentown Latin League, said the U.S. and host nation France are the best teams going in the tournament. The Americans bolstered that argument early on, scoring on Chile in the 11th minute on the way to a 3-0 halftime lead that stood up as the final score.Julie Ertz knocked in one of the goals and veteran Carli Lloyd the other two.Sylvia Bleach, 7, expected star Alex Morgan to join the scoring, guessing her favorite player would exceed even the five goals she scored against Thailand.“She’ll score 15,” said Sylvia, who plays for the Bethlehem Soccer Club but was wearing a Morgan jersey for the occasion.Soccer fan Sylvia Bleach, 7, of Bethlehem was hoping to see U.S. star Alex Morgan score. She didn’t get her wish in Sunday’s game, though the U.S. women won 3-0. (SHARON K. MERKEL / Special to The Morning Call/)She revised her estimate down to five, though 10 goals in two games would still be an eye-opening feat. That Morgan didn’t end up scoring was not a matter of great concern, because there is a lot of tournament left.Sporting event viewing parties at SteelStacks, with the games carried on two giant outdoor screens, are generally crowded and fun. That was the case Sunday, despite low clouds that occasionally spat rain. The crowd cheered the team introduction, the national anthem, the first goal, the second, the third.“People think men’s sports are more interesting, but in terms of soccer the women are so much better,” said Allyson Wasielewski, 19, of Orefield, who played soccer at St. Joseph the Worker School and Allentown Central Catholic.That’s demonstrably true for soccer. The men’s team didn’t even qualify for the last World Cup. For bringing notice to soccer — the world’s most popular sport, but still lagging in the U.S. — most of the credit goes to the women.Allyson Wasielewski, 19, of Orefield defended the team against allegations of poor sportsmanship from its opening-game drubbing of Thailand. (SHARON K. MERKEL / Special to The Morning Call/)“I’m glad they’re finally starting to get paid more,” said Wasielewski, who also defended the team against the bad sportsmanship accusations leveled after the Thailand game.“I think it looks worse to stop scoring and just pass the ball around,” she said. “It’s the World Cup, it’s not a random friendly. Some of the girls had never scored before and I think they deserved a celebration.”Keeping the pressure on Thailand was a sign of respect, Wasielewski added.“You don’t play down to any team,” she said.Darren Creasy of Lower Macungie Township, on hand with his son, Cole, and wife, Ashley, said soccer is clearly becoming more popular in America and he expects that to continue.“The world’s become smaller,” he said. “More and more people are moving here from places in the world where soccer is a religion.”Soccer fan and player Cole Creasy, 8, of Bethlehem waits for the start of the game at Soccer Fest with the viewing of the FIFA Woman’s World cup featuring USA vs Chile on Sunday in Bethlehem. USA defeated Chile 3-0. (SHARON K. MERKEL / Special to The Morning Call/)Cole Creasy is a prime example of the rise in popularity. He is 8 years old and has already been playing for five years.His favorite team? The British Premiere League’s Leicester City, same as dad.His favorite player?“Lionel Messi,” Cole said, looking suitably star-struck at the mention of the Argentine superstar’s name.Morning Call reporter Daniel Patrick Sheehan can be reached at 610-820-6598 or
Source: Morningcall

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