The U.S. men's soccer team's run to the Round of 16 in the World Cup created a buzz in the country that hasn't been felt in some time.
Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Belgium in the round of 16 was a tough loss for the Stars and Stripes. But the bigger story is just how the nation, including here on the high desert, came together as one to root for this team.
“One nation, one team," Luke Mueller said.
“One nation, one team,” Arlen Momb said.
"One nation, one team,” Zack Williky said.
One nation, one team, indeed. Many packed Sidelines Sports Bar in Bend for the biggest game in U.S. soccer history, to root on Team USA.
"I feel like it's kind of like the Olympics, where it's once every four years, and people are really starting to get behind them and it's incredible," Williky said.
Incredible is one way to describe it. Others have taken pride in the 23 men who represented us in Brazil.
"I'm really proud of our team and our country and how we got behind, and you can kind of see it around town," Momb said.
The excitement of victory, and the agony of defeat, converted Central Oregonians into soccer fans.
"I actually started to watch a soccer game and understand the sport more than I have in the past," Mueller said. "And it's just awesome to see this team here from America just really rally everyone around this game."
People of all ages had a vested interest in the team.
"It's not just some younger people who probably played, but there's a lot of people out watching the game at different bars here in Bend -- and it's great for the game," Momb said.
Regardless of the outcome, it's about coming together as one.
"I'm proud to be an American,” Mueller said.
“Go USA!” Williky said.
“I'm proud to be an American,” Momb sang.
“I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free," Williky sang.
Unfortunately, the loss has eliminated the Americans, but it shouldn't stop the hundreds of millions across the nation from supporting the Red, White and Blue.