England 1, USA 1: My Top 10 Observations

10. When the doors opened at 6 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Hall in Mockingbird Station, there were already 20 people lined up for a day of World Cup watching. We can rip soccer (and we will), but it's hard to criticize its fans' passion.

9. In a sport where you can't use your hands, it'd be better if, well, you didn't use your hands. Throw-ins make absolutely no sense (why not kick-ins?) and soccer might be watchable if goalies could only make saves with their feet, head, face, etc.

8. Best American bar chant of the day: One side of the room chanted "17," the other finished it off with "76."

7. I was shocked that the crowd was 90 percent pro-U.S.A. Not particularly sophisticated about the nuances of soccer, but fervent nonetheless. Impressive.

6. Swear this happened: When I arrived around 10:30 a.m. there was a 2-year-old-ish girl laid out asleep on a long booth seat. During the day excited fans would stumble around or become boisterous in the near vicinity of the girl. Mom, multiple times: "If you wake her up we're gonna have trouble." When I left five hours later the girl (now in a stroller and blocking a walkway between tables) and said mother were still there. Weirdest part: From what I could tell the mom was 5 percent into the game and 95 percent into texting.

5. I know I'm the ugly American, but soccer would be so much more appealing if they would get rid of offsides. As is, during a 90-minute game you get one, maybe two one-on-one confrontations between scorer and goalie.

4. On one England corner kick in the second half, American fans chanted "De-fense! De-fense!" That's akin to an NFL Europe crowd chanting "Off-fense!" during its team's field-goal attempt. Not wrong, per se, just weird.

3. One of the most overrated things on our planet: Guinness.

2. When Clint Dempsey--who cut his soccer teeth playing for the Longhorns right here in Dallas--"scored" via England goalie Robert Green's inexplicable gaffe, I high-fived servers and hugged sweaty people I'd never seen before and will likely never see again. That, my friends, is the true beauty of sports.

1. A 1-1 tie? A draw? And, according to U.S. fans, a "good result." Dear rest of the world: Ties suck. Unless you're Anna Kournikova's brother.


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