When John Brooks headed in the winning goal in the 86th minute of the U.S. team's 2-1 win over Ghana at the World Cup, Fadó Irish Pub on the corner of 15th and Locust Streets became a blur of red, white, and blue. The bar was packed to its fire-code limit, yet people still found room to leap into the air, high-fiving and hugging.
Three years ago, Greg Hutelmyer, Julian Brown, and Sean Figgins wouldn't have believed the scene at the bar. Then, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Outlaws - the support group for United States soccer - was dormant.
One day back then, Hutelmyer, from Drexel Hill, decided to create a Facebook group to promote a watch party for a U.S. friendly. Only five people showed up. Despite the low turnout, the current chapter of the Outlaws began to take shape. Hutelmyer, the chapter president, met Brown and then the pair invited Figgins to help out.
The group that started out with three members now has more than 320. And never has the Philadelphia chapter been more energized than it was on Monday.
Outlaws started arriving at Fadó, the group's official bar, starting at 10:30 a.m. for a 6 p.m. game. The bar was at capacity more than an hour before the start.
"The fact that we start with three people," Hutelmyer said, "and now we hit the fire code in the bar and there's one hundred people trying to get in, we can't comprehend how amazing it is."
Outlaws and other Team USA fans filled almost every nook and cranny of the bar, except for one corner with Ghana fans, made up mainly of Ghanaian students from Drexel.
The Outlaws made their presence felt, belting their signature chant, "I believe that we will win," before, during, and after the game.
"I think you're absolutely crazy if you come in here, you leave, and you're still not a soccer fan," Figgins said.
The Outlaws hope a long run for the U.S. team in the World Cup will help the group grow even more. Their ultimate goal is to make Philadelphia soccer-crazy. The trio of founders credited the Union's arrival five years ago as a turning point, but they think the city can show even more support for U.S. soccer.
"Philadelphia is as American as it gets," Brown said.
When the match ended in victory for the U.S. team, Brown, Hutelmyer, and Figgins danced and hugged on the stage in front of the television.