PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – The newest chapter of a national group that goes around supporting American soccer gathered in Port Chester on Thursday to watch the first game of the World Cup.
Anthony Melendez, of Peekskill, led the charge for the American Outlaws of Westchester with friends T.J. Ribeiro and Jason Khoder, both of Tarrytown.
As their group name would indicate all three are rooting for the USA team. But, Melendez said he thinks Brazil will win it all and went to Cococabana Steakhouse in Port Chester to watch them play Croatia on Thursday. He said Brazil has a great defense and the youth and home field advantage.
Khoder chimed in, saying their youth could work against them if they come across more experienced teams like Germany.
Croatia had few fans at the Brazilian steakhouse Thursday, but Cococabana has become a “United Nations” of soccer fans, according to John Horan, of Hartford. All 32 flags of the countries in the World Cup are flying outside the restaurant.
Thursday, the steakhouse drew soccer fans originally from Brazil, Iran, many Latin American Countries and even someone from Saudi Arabia visiting the U.S. for the first time and rooting for Nigeria.
Vahid Khakeabazan lives in Stamford and is in his second year at Westchester Community College. He said he was an architect in Iran, and now studying at WCC to get licensed in the U.S.
Rick Teixiera, who lived in Port Chester before moving to Stamford, said the village has a large Brazilian population and that they are excited to support their team.
Tony Marcins, another Brazil fan and former Port Chester resident now living in Norwalk, said he has watched four World Cups at Cococabana.
Ribeiro said the World Cup is all about having fun and watching soccer and that Cococabana offered the biggest party for the kickoff game. But, the “Outlaws” will watch every USA game at Beechmont Tavern in White Plains, starting Monday night when they take on Ghana at 6 p.m.
Melendez said he expects 60 people.