SAN DIEGO — It was 38 minutes into the first half of Tuesday’s World Cup matchup between the USA and Iran when Team USA scored in this must-win game.  

Soccer fans packed Fairplay bar and restaurant in North Park early to watch the men’s national soccer team beat Iran in a match that provided the young team many opportunities and chances, but they only need one to win.

“I’m just glad our defense came through at the end of it,” said one San Diego Team USA fan. “The goalie was so out of place and they came and saved it, so I’m just glad we were able to advance.”

Another fan said, “We had our chances! We capitalized on one and evidently that’s all we need. “I’ve been saying for weeks we were the better team!”

At Fairplay, they had their staff in early and ready at 6 a.m. for the expected crowd that didn’t disappoint.

“The energy here is electric!” said a Team USA fan. “We’re all so pumped and proud to be Americans!”

You could feel the excitement and anxiety. Fans were raising large American flags and banging cow bells, some even singing.

Team USA had not faced Iran since 1998 when they lost. Tuesday’s win appears to be bringing back the comradery — the hugging and high five’s many have longed for since the pandemic.

Team USA now advances to the next round, knockout play on Saturday, taking on the Netherlands.