World Cup fever boiling in Chicago as USA set to play Thursday - FOX 32 News Chicago

World Cup fever boiling in Chicago as USA set to play Thursday

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

World Cup soccer is becoming the fastest growing spectator sport in Chicago.

The crowd that watched in Grant Park Sunday was twice as big as the number of fans who watched the first game, and word is the third match this Thursday will be even bigger.

Fans said that it has been electrifying watching soccer on big screens in Grant Park. The United States tied Portugal Sunday, and the city said 20,000 people were there to share the excitement and the disappointment.

When the U.S. faces Germany on Thursday, a bigger crowd is expected to fill Butler Field at the Petrillo Music Shell. Game time is 11 a.m. and fans are expected to line up early.

“We’re not gonna have seating, we'll have a fence, clicker counter, expecting a bigger crowd, bigger space,” said Mike Gressle of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Some fans were turned away from Sunday’s public party, because the crowd had reached capacity.

"It was madness. I saw a guy jump over the gate," said U.S. fan Alex Gage.

That was Balbo Street, though. Butler Field is bigger and has hosted more Blackhawks and Bulls fans for even larger celebrations.

“Fans are seeing how big of a deal this is. The U.S. is one true galvanizing sports team in the U.S. It's red, white and blue, it's the U.S.,” added Gressle.

The U.S. Soccer Federation estimates Butler Field can hold 20,000 to 25,000 people safely. If there are any changes due to weather or crowd capacity, they'll use Twitter and the city's resources to let fans know.

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