KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City soccer scene found itself in national, and even international, spotlight Tuesday as hundreds of fans packed the Power and Light District downtown to cheer the U.S. Women's National Team.
The large crowds of raucous fans, which often are showed on national and international broadcasts, have helped Kansas City earn an unofficial titles as the soccer capital of the country.
That reputation was burnished during a 2-1 win against England in the Women's World Cup semifinals as fans again packed the Kansas City Live block and were glued to the big screen throughout the tense match.
[GALLERY: Sights from Power & Light's watch party]
The USWNT, who are the defending World Cup champions, were without co-captain Megan Rapinoe, one of the tournament's leading scorers, but Christen Press, who replaced Rapinoe in the lineup, got things going early with a 10-th-minute goal.
The game's first goal brought fans to their feet — cheering, chanting "U-S-A" and banging drums.
Brian Solis, who brought his drum for the watch party, said he wouldn't miss the chance to watch soccer with other passionate Kansas City fans.
“It’s like no where else in the U.S.," Solis said. "It’s a great location and the energy is exciting, and it’s really a beautiful location to watch it at."
USWNT captain Alex Morgan, who celebrated her 30th birthday Tuesday, also had a big game, scoring her first goal since the opening match.
The U.S. next plays the winner of Wednesday's second semifinal between Sweden and the Netherlands in the 2019 Women's World Cup title match at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Parc Olympique Lyonnias in France.
Fans are expected to pack Power and Light once again for that game.
“We all love soccer and we think it’s just the best city to watch it in," Madison Sharp said.
Mareya Alexander agreed, “We all love each other and we have this great community and when we score everybody jumps up and it’s just a great feeling together."
The USWNT have reached the World Cup final for a third consecutive tournament and fifth time overall.