When Evan Wells showed up at 7 a.m. Saturday at Crown & Anchor British Pub to watch the World Cup, he didn't take any chances.
Figuring he would be surrounded by English fans hungry to watch a Union Jack beat down on the United States, Wells wore a Manchester United shirt.
"I came here thinking I might be outnumbered by Brits 3-to-1," Wells said. "I didn't want to get jumped."
Wells was pleasantly surprised to see he wasn't the only Yank on hand. American fans actually outnumbered the English, perhaps 2-to-1, and loudly celebrated the 1-1 "victory" by the United States.
(Yes, a tie -- or, to soccer fans, a draw --Â was considered a victory for the Americans. It's complicated.)
What was supposed to be a mecca for English fans to gather and be among their own was overwhelmed by unending chants of "U-S-A!"
"It's getting on my nerves," one English fan said.
Fans from both sides began arriving at the 24-hour pub around 6 a.m., and the place was packed 2Â½ hours before the 11:30 a.m. kickoff. Upward of 600 fans crammed inside, at and near the bar, creating an ocean effect of being pushed from all sides by people trying to squeeze through.
One woman barged inside and then forced her way back outside holding a beer and lit cigarette. At least she held the cigarette high.
About 1,000 fans milled in and around a specially constructed tent in the pub's parking lot that also had big-screen TVs. More fans than indoors, but not the sardine effect.
A "U-S-A" chant began at 10:30 a.m. when ABC opened its pre-game coverage. English fans shot back by yelling, "Who are you?" and then followed by singing, "Do you even know the rules?"
It was all in good fun. Well, most of it.
Actually, if anyone had reason to feel on edge, it was the English. Their team was favored to win and collect the three points to help advance out of group play, but had to settle for the single point that comes with a tie.
The top two teams from each four-team group move on to the 16-team elimination round.
"I'm very nervous right now," English fan Erika Brassington-Stocks said before the match. "We should win this game, but if we don't, I'm going to be very, very disappointed and embarrassed."
Fans from both sides wore their respective jerseys, and the English fans were a mix of those who live in Las Vegas and those visiting.
American fans, many tired of explaining to their friends why they should love soccer (or "football" to the rest of the world), wanted a taste of an intense, big-time atmosphere nearly impossible to find elsewhere in the valley. Or in most of the States.
Joel Chmara was in town from Chicago visiting his brother, and he didn't hide his allegiance, draping an oversized American flag over his shoulders.
"In this game, they're everything that goes back to the Revolutionary War," Chmara said, probably tongue-in-cheek, of the English. "Taxation without representation comes in full effect today. I still have ire about that."
Though it's a British pub, Chmara pointed to the ironic banner proclaiming it the official bar of U.S. Soccer.
English fans cheered when their team took a 1-0 lead less than 4 minutes into the match, but watched in horror late in the first half when goalkeeper Robert Green let an easy save slip through his hands and into the net for the tying goal.
England picked up the pressure in the second half, but failed to score on several chances. About 50 English fans inside the bar grew quiet, nervously watching the final minutes.
A scuffle broke out inside the bar late in the game, but fans didn't automatically take sides, and it ended quickly. One Brit even was overheard saying, "An English lad couldn't take a little bit of fun. He's got to go. Pathetic."
The match ended shortly afterward, and the crowd began to disperse. Two English fans visiting from overseas were disappointed with the outcome but happy to at least get a taste of home at the British pub.
"It's a little more friendly than in England," Steve Campbell said. "There was only one fight."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914.