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Organizers Make Changes To Accommodate Crowds For World Cup Viewing Party

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A massive crowd of 20,000 people in Chicago cheered Team USA in Sunday’s draw against Portugal in their second game of the World Cup.

The turnout is forcing changes in plans for Thursday’s viewing party in Grant Park. The event on Sunday was held on a tiny sliver of Balbo Drive between Lake Shore Drive and Columbus. On Thursday, the party will be in the much larger Butler Field, near the site of the Petrillo bandshell.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports that the sea of soccer fans who squeezed between the gates that lined Balbo Street were considered the lucky ones.

“I didn’t have a full view of the screen,” Malcolm St. John said.

That is because he was among the thousands locked out because street could only accommodate about 10,000.

“It was very crowded,” St. John said. “I had to stand on the outskirts. I got there around 4:10 so I got there late.”

St. John arrived just before the U.S Soccer Federation sent a tweet saying, “The Grant Park viewing party is at capacity. In the interest of public safety we will not be allowing anyone else inside.”

David Gubala got there two hours before the 5 p.m. game and got in. He could see the game on the Jumbotron, but hearing it was another story.

“The sound system was a little low,” Gubala said.

More speakers, water and port-a-potties are among the items that may be increased for Thursday’s watch party. Mike Gressle of the U.S. Soccer Federation says they are also looking at having two screens.

“For a bigger space, we’ll have more security on site for sure,” Gressle said.

Because of Sunday’s tie, Thursday’s game still has plenty of meaning for the U.S., and the viewing party is expected to attract another 20,000 fans.

“We’re ready for a big crowd. Hopefully a big crowd will come out,” said Gressle.

The USA-Germany game starts at 11 a.m. on Thursday.