Saturday, November 1, 2014


Alex Dubin, 17, center top, reacts with other United States fans while watching the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a public viewing party in San Francisco, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Jeff Chiu)

Houston Astros relief pitcher Jerome Williams, left, cheers as he and reporters watch the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany before the baseball game between the Astros and the Atlanta Braves Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) (Pat Sullivan)

Andreas Kunkel, 20 of Alexandria, Va., celebrates the German team's introduction at a World Cup game between the United States and Germany, Thursday, June 26, 2014, during a viewing party sponsored by the German Embassy at Dupont Circle in Washington. Kunkel formerly lived in the German town of Wassertrudingen. (AP Photo/Connor Radnovich) (Connor Radnovich)

Dalton Hayes, of Des Moines, Iowa, reacts with friends during halftime of the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a local bar, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Thousands of eager Americans set work aside on Thursday _ with or without their bosses’ OK _ to watch the key World Cup match. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall)

Aaron Todd, right, and Zach Crabtree, both of Knoxville, Iowa, react as they watch the World Cup Soccer match between the United States and Germany at a local bar, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Thousands of eager Americans set work aside on Thursday _ with or without their bosses’ OK _ to watch the key World Cup match. Todd and Crabtree said they took the day off to watch the match. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall)

President Barack Obama, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer, right, watch the World Cup soccer match between US and Germany in the conference room aboard Air Force One enroute to Minnesota, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

United States fan Blake Friedman, of Abington, Pa., reacts while watching the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a public viewing party, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. Germany defeated the United States 1-0 to win Group G ahead of the Americans, who also advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite losing. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke)

United States fan Arin Khodabakhshian reacts at the MGM Grand sports book in Las Vegas as he watches the final seconds of the U.S. 1-0 loss to Germany during their World Cup soccer match Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/John Locher) (John Locher)

Ten-year-old Tamija looks through a plastic rain cover as she watches the World Cup 2014 soccer match between Germany and United States at a public viewing named 'Fan Mile' in Berlin, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (Markus Schreiber)

United States fans react while watching the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a public viewing party, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. Germany defeated the United States 1-0 to win Group G ahead of the Americans, who also advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite losing. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke)

United States fan Arin Khodabakhshian reacts at the MGM Grand sports book in Las Vegas, as he watches the final seconds of the U.S. team's 1-0 loss to Germany during their World Cup soccer match Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/John Locher) (John Locher)

A fan reacts to a missed shot by the United States as she watches a World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux)

United States fans react while watching the final minutes of the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a public viewing party, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. Germany defeated the United States 1-0 to win Group G ahead of the Americans, who also advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite losing. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke)

Katrin Fuersich, left, of Weissenburg, Germany, and Oli Schneider, of Kempten, Germany, wear pasted-on German flags on their faces as they watch a World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany Thursday, June 26, 2014, from an alley in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. The two were making a brief visit to Seattle before continuing their North American travels. "Nord Alley" has been the site of large-screen viewing parties for World Cup games every match day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson)

Ethan Iano, right, Wil Cabatic, second from right, and Chris Draper react with other fans to a missed opportunity by the United States as they watch a World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Germany Thursday, June 26, 2014, from an alley in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. "Nord Alley" has been the site of large-screen viewing parties for World Cup games every match day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson)
Thousands in US turn out to watch World Cup match
With or without OK from the boss, thousands of Americans set work aside to watch US-Germany

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 12:27 p.m.

Jose Arriaga has run out of excuses for missing work to watch the U.S. men’s soccer team in the World Cup.

The births of his children, deaths of relatives and those pre-World Cup friendlies — all have eaten up his personal days. But after watching the Americans advance to the knockout round despite a 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday, Arriaga is ready to bargain for a few more hours when the U.S. resumes play next week.

“If we would have lost and gotten knocked out, I would have second-guessed missing out on work,” said Arriaga, a 28-year-old who put off mortgage work for a watch party in Dallas. “But we advanced and I can’t miss that. I think I made the right decision.”

Tens of thousands of eager Americans like Arriaga set work aside to watch the game — with or without their bosses’ OK. Many more watched online as they could. ESPN tweeted that its online streaming application set a record with a peak of 1.7 million concurrent users, leading to limited issues the company blamed on “unprecedented demand.”

The match kicked off at noon Eastern time, right in the middle of the work day for many, but that didn’t stop crowds from filling bars and restaurants from Orlando, Florida, to Seattle and many points in between. The biggest turnouts were at watch parties in places like Chicago’s Grant Park, Dupont Circle in Washington and Bryant Park in New York.

The nail-biting lasted a full two hours, and most fans were stayed until the final whistle to make sure the Americans had advanced, thanks to goal differentials and the other early match of the day, a 2-1 Portugal victory over Ghana.

“I’m willing to get in trouble,” said Sugey Lozano, an account manager for a Chicago mortgage servicing firm who planned to take a long lunch as she watched the game in the lobby of her office building on a 12-by-22-foot screen.

It’s a time-honored American tradition to scramble for excuses whenever work gets in the way of the big game. But more and more companies are fine with workers watching at the office instead of losing them to a full “sick day.” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann did his part, posting an online note for people to give to their bosses that asked managers to excuse staff to watch the game for the good of the nation.

“By the way, you should act like a good leader and take the day off as well. Go USA!” he wrote.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation hosted a party for its staff of about 100 with a TV and food. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved an extra hour of lunch for all state employees so they could watch the whole game. Matt Rogers of the Washington-based Urban Institute, which held a party for its 400 employees, said the World Cup is a great way to build office morale.

“We don’t have many moments where you can find a common interest among a big chunk of that population,” he said. “Sports, and in particular a World Cup-type event with a national team — and tense and dramatic sporting moments — really bring people together.”

President Obama watched the match on Air Force One on his way to Minnesota. At the Transportation Department in Washington, officials worried that so many employees would watch online from their desks that it would slow down the agency’s computer network.

“We are going to monitor bandwidth utilization throughout the day and we’ll plan to block the streaming sites should we encounter any network issues,” Todd Simpson, the department’s associate chief information officer, warned in an email to workers.

John Challenger, the CEO of executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., estimated the match could cost U.S. companies $390 million in lost wages. But Challenger said the investment in something that brings staffers together might not be such a bad idea.

“It’s just like if you invite your team out to have drinks after work,” he said. “You’re spending it on enhanced morale and trust among your people.”

Of course, not everyone could watch the game at work or get the day off.

Dalton Hayes, a student at Simpson College in Iowa, asked for a few hours off from his summer job teaching swim lessons at a local pool.

When his supervisor balked, Hayes said he quit on the spot and now has to move in with his parents for the rest of the summer. He said it was worth it.

“I was just thinking, ‘I get to watch the game,‘” Hayes said.

Associated Press reporters Brett Zongker, Josh Lederman, Carla K. Johnson and Joan Lowy and Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.