As we get deeper into the World Cup tournament, more fans stay glued to the TV screen. But what about those who work 9-5 and can’t duck away from their desk for a quick 90-minute trip to the water fountain? This is where Team USA comes into play.
Coach Jürgen Klinsmann tweeted a clever, customizable letter for soccer fans nationwide to present to their bosses in hopes of a day off. All around Houston, fans took Klinsmann at his word, flooding sports bars and restaurants to cheer on Team USA in the middle of the day Thursday. Although all that support didn’t quite do the trick — Germany won 1-0 — Team USA will still advance to the Round of 16, thanks to Portugal's unexpected win over Ghana.
Who is the best soccer player in the World Cup? “Messi from Argentina. If I had the chance to play with any player, it would be him by far."
Who knows if it was the extensive beer tabs, multiple big screens or maybe even the numerous Houston Dynamo players on hand, but Local Pour was a hot spot to watch the game. Many of the young professionals who jammed the River Oaks-area bar were taking an extra long lunch break or had even snuck out of work without their bosses knowing and asked not to be photographed to avoid their secret field trip being discovered.
I had a chance to sit down with Dynamo team captain and defender Corey Ashe and midfielder Servando Carrasco during halftime of the game —the only 15 minutes where eyes weren’t anxiously fixated on the television.
Both players were ecstatic to be able to cheer on their fellow Dynamo teammate, Brad Davis. "He is a world class player. He is the guy you try and take little things from his game and implement in your own, along with being a great leader and guy I look up to," Carrasco said.
Ashe’s face especially lit up when I asked about Team USA member and former Dynamo Geoff Cameron, who was his roommate five years. “He and I are really good friends. We still talk now. Geoff is an extremely versatile player; he can play anywhere you put him. It proves that he has done well here and in England,” Ashe said.
Who is the best soccer player in the World Cup? “Messi from Argentina. If I had the chance to play with any player, it would be him by far,” Ashe said. Carrasco agreed, asserting, “100 percent Messi.”
Taking home the trophy is not so agree upon. Asked who will win this year's World Cup (excluding Team USA as a choice), Ashe picks The Netherlands while Carrasco says, with the home turf advantage, Brazil is sure to bring home the big win if not his personal favorite, Mexico.
Want to increase your chances of running into these two soccer hot shots in Houston? Drop by some of Ashe's favorites like Saint Danes and Dogwood or Carrasco's quieter favorites like coffee spots Agora, Mercantile and Blacksmith, or El Tiempo Cantina for fajitas.