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5 Bars Where Soccer Upstages Football

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- If you've ever walked into a bar on a Sunday and wondered "what's with all the stopping and commercials and helmets," you're watching the wrong football in the wrong bar.

Soccer is the world's sport, but in the U.S. it's maybe a distant fourth behind NFL football, the Major League Baseball playoffs and NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint (S) Cup. In certain fanatical corners, it may be running fifth behind preseason NHL hockey, which somehow drew 18,400 fans in Washington, D.C., on Sunday compared with the 15,000 fans Major League Soccer's D.C. United has averaged during its regular season. Despite this, there are American fans of non-American football who don't particularly care about any of the above.

To them, the UEFA Champions League matches last week had far more excitement than the dying days of baseball's regular season. These same folks don't see October as NASCAR's championship season, but as the lead-in to the MLS playoffs. To them, the Barclays (BCS) English Premier League derbies this weekend were far better than any Week 3 "action" the NFL had to offer.

If fans of either football are looking for a head-to-head matchup for fan and pub TV loyalties, it isn't going to happen. The English Premier League's games air far earlier that the NFL's on Sundays thanks to the time difference across the pond, while MLS does just about everything in its power to make sure its Sunday games don't overlap with the NFL. Major League Soccer is making inroads after averaging more fans per game than the National Basketball League and National Hockey League at one point last year, but even the 37,000 fans that attend Seattle Sounders games on average would be considered the worst home crowd in the NFL -- where the Cincinnati Bengals have the league's worst attendance and haven't sold out a home game since the middle of last season, but still draw more than 42,000 fans per game.

That doesn't mean soccer fans or their pubs are just going to hand over the remote when the rest of America is ready fer sum "football." We combed the country's taphouses and watering holes looking for pubs that not only show soccer but make it as big a part of their business as the beers on tap. The following five are the nation's best spots to watch the play on the pitch, enjoy a pint and put yourself far away from pooch kicks, giant shoulder pads and pass-interference penalties:

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