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Auburn World Cup Dreams End at Old Town Pizza

By: Colin Berr Journal Staff Writer
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The American soccer World Cup run came to a tumultuous finish on Saturday, yet Auburn fans were there every step of the way to support them. Clad in face-paint and World Cup gear, these fans paraded through the streets of Auburn with flags and music as part of their second World Cup Flag Run, in the hours before the game. “The idea is to get people excited about the world cup and help spread a soccer culture in the United States,” said Edward Berr, event co-planner. Cars honked and pedestrians cheered the runners on as they ran from Railhead Park, down Highway 49, up Elm, and into Old Town Auburn. Participant Michael McCowan took the lead, brandishing an enormous American flag as he led the runners down the desired path. Flags unfurled by runners ranged from South Africa to Germany flags, as well as the trademark Fan Run flag. “I should have been exhausted, but the cars honking and people cheering kept my adrenaline at an all-time high.” McCowan said. “It was an incredible experience.” The Flag Run was sponsored by Lou La Bonte’s Restaurant, Auburn Auto Detail, and Old Town Pizza, which contributed prizes for the best flag, best outfit, and most enthusiastic runner. The run ended at Old Town Pizza, where more fans joined the runners to watch the epic USA-Ghana Round of 16 match. After another resounding comeback by the United States to tie the match in the second half, it took overtime to decide the eventual winner. Ghana scored the decisive goal, and will now advance to the quarterfinals. “It was heartbreaking, but I’m still proud of our team, “ McCowan said. “Throughout the entire match, you could see Ghana players faking injuries to try and win an advantage. You rarely ever see that in an American player. Even if they get hit, they keep going.” The U.S. team captured the attention of the world, and for once, its own country, as it achieved unexpected comeback results and finished first in their group for the first time in 80 years. The Flag Run drew runners of all ages, including the 2-year-old Loryn DeVries, who was pushed along by her father Gus. “It was a lot of fun for the whole family,” said Gus DeVries. “My older kids ran alongside, waving their flags, and my wife Lori passed us in the van every so often, honking her horn.” Reach Colin Berr at colinb@goldcountrymedia.com.