Essential Pittsburgh
5:36 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Is It Finally Soccer's Time in the Steel City?

World Cup watching at Pipers Pub on the South Side, soccer fans from the Pittsburgh area celebrate a goal scored by Germany during Monday's match against Portugal.
Credit Christopher Squier / 90.5 WESA

In case you haven’t heard, there is a rather large soccer tournament playing in Brazil that happens once every four years called the World Cup. And unlike baseball’s World Series: every country in the world is eligible to play, after making it through the qualifying rounds.

This year the United States has a good chance of advancing past the “Group of Death” and into the round of 16. Their actual odds are disputed among sites such as Bloomberg, World Soccer Talk and CBSDC. All three give the US team at least a 60 percent chance of advancing.

Sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak said if the United States ties or wins their next game against Germany, they will advance. He also joked.

“Well there’s a lot of Pittsburghers asking, ‘Why are they showing a yellow card to some guy because they’d never show a yellow card to Mean Joe Greene, would they?’ And ‘how come they’re not hitting the ball with a stick?’ ‘If they call it football, how come nobody’s throwing it?’ That’s the sort of thing you’re up against, but I think there has been a growing following, a growing support for this sport and for this spectacle.”

He said since 1960 it's been predicted that soccer would be the next sport that was going to captivate American sports fans. But the subtlety of the drama and the lack of physical contact are two reasons Dvorchak believes soccer hasn’t caught on. But with the US team's current winning streak, there's hope.

“It may take some more time, but people love winners. People love spectacles," said Dvorchak "they love big events and they love winners. If all those things come together then they’ll feel good about themselves.”