"They yelled at us. But it's a really precious experience to watch the game in the United States," said Hayushi, who has lived in the country for four years and in Philadelphia for the past two.
For more than two hours yesterday afternoon, the busy bar at 15th and Locust streets was packed with soccer fans, men and women, many decked out in red, white and blue, who rejoiced and hissed as the nail-biter of a game played out on numerous big-screen televisions.
As the American team prepared for the deciding penalty kicks, a voice cried out from the back of the bar: "Come on Hope," a reference to goalie Hope Solo. But in the end, there was no hope for the U.S. team - who were considered the favorites going into the game and dominated much of the play - and Japan won on penalty kicks, 3-1, after the match had ended in a 2-2 draw.
"I'm upset," said a glum Jen Lamsback, 25, of Abington. "They should have won. They played better, they possessed better." Lamsback, who coaches girls soccer at Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, in Gwynedd Valley, sat huddled with a group of girlfriends at a long table in the back of the bar. The group had been following throughout the tournament.
"We feel like we're part of the game," Lamsback said. "We're telling them what to do. We're yelling at them."
Despite the loss, the massive standing-room-only crowd proved that fandom for women's soccer has come a long way – and the Americans' run will likely only increase interest in the sport.
Many viewers said that this year's team is building on public interest that started in 1999, when the U.S. women won their second World Cup title.
"I do think the American public has become better fans," said Kendall Cameron, 46, a former college player who did a brief stint on the Holland national team in 1985. She said that this year's team was "every bit as good if not better than the 1999 team." Cameron, who lives in Center City, now coaches an under-11 team. She said that this tournament has excited some of those players.
"It's great," Cameron said. "These are good role models."
Of course, not everyone at the bar was quite so focused on female empowerment.
"I'm excited to see one of the girls rip off their shirts like in '99," said Will Sirois, 23, of Reading, referring to the conclusion of the 1999 World Cup victory when player Brandi Chastain took off her jersey, revealing a sports bra.
"Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, they're so sexy."