Aaron Bruckart

By Aaron T. Bruckart

Herald Staff Writer

IT WAS A SAD day Thursday for the few U.S. soccer fans out there.

Ghana took advantage of an early mistake and a controversial call to beat the U.S. 2-1, knocking the Yanks from this year’s World Cup.

Like the previous game, I took advantage of a family trip to New York City to find a great new place to watch soccer. And although the ending was sad, the day was highlighted by some great experiences.

Note to any soccer fans out there: From now on, don’t just go to your local bar to watch a game. These things happen once every four years. And for the U.S. team, that means, realistically, that you’ll have three chances to make a day out of it.

I spent my day at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens, N.Y. Though my brother Jeremy and his girlfriend Emily know the game, my parents and sister were getting an introduction to this international soccer experience.

I dressed in my U.S. soccer jersey with a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag draped over my shoulders. Jeremy played along with an American flag wrapped around his neck. Dad, Mom and Melissa also had their American gear ready.

We got a seat in the front row of the American side of the yard. Since the beer garden is really a place for Czechs, we had two crowds there. One was watching the Czechs take on Italy, while the other watched the Americans and Ghana.

Unfortunately, both of us went home unhappy. But the crowd exchange made for a fun time. Needing the Czechs to lose for the Americans to move on, our heads spun every time we heard cheering, and their heads came right back at us when we were celebrating an early Italian lead.

Also during the games, I was interviewed by three different media organizations. The highlight was certainly when Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch found his way to our table. Richard and I had a nice chat about the U.S. game and what the family was doing for the week.

Later that night, my family’s picture and a portion of the interview appeared on Check out the World Cup pub blog for 6/22 for the story.

While the day was nice, my mood for most of it was grief since I’ll now be waiting four more years for a U.S. World Cup game.

It’s possible that the thumping from the Czechs and the emotionally draining tie to Italy took too much out of them. It’s also possible that expectations were too high. Either way, our boys are home early, failing to match last year’s run.

This year’s tournament still has plenty of action left, however. Pre-tournament favorite Brazil are still alive, and Argentina and Portugal both look like they have the goods to go far. If you watch one soccer game this year, make it the World Cup final on July 9. Even if you don’t know a thing about the game, or just dislike it, it’ll definitely be worth your time.