The once-packed room of rambunctious soccer fans cleared out quickly, with few saying goodbye to one another as silence started to settle in.
Much of the camaraderie and jubilation shared for three hours, even among strangers at times, was gone. In its place was the look of frustration and exhaustion after watching a gut-wrenching women's soccer match that ended unfavorably for the U.S. women's national team.
The United States lost to Japan 3-1 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 tie in the Women's World Cup final on Sunday in a game that was packed with drama but lacked the happy ending for U.S. fans.
This time, there was not a memorable moment like in 1999 when Brandi Chastain peeled off her soccer jersey in jubilation after scoring the winning goal for the United States.
The lasting image on this day was the blank stares on the U.S. players' faces, which was similar to the look of disbelief shown by those who watched the game at The Mad Duck Neighborhood Grill & Taphouse in Clovis.
"It seemed like we were going to win this," Fresno soccer fan Marty Reinhold said. "We were playing great. We scored first every time. It looked like we were in control most of the time.
"And then we lost."
Now the concern among soccer enthusiasts is whether their sport's recent surge in popularity will take a plunge without the momentum of a championship.
Fans lined up as early as 21/2 hours before Sunday's game and an hour before the doors to The Mad Duck even opened to get prime seating in the sports-oriented restaurant.
Several girls soccer players who are part of the Cal Odyssey soccer club, a local youth organization, came to the restaurant to watch. Many, however, left before halftime after the crowd grew and the place became too packed.
After a scoreless first half, the Americans finally scored during the 69th minute on Alex Morgan's breakaway goal and set off an eruption of cheers.
"U.S.A! U.S.A.!" the crowd chanted amid horns sounding off.
Feeling comfortable with the United States in the lead, fans started to chat with each other more and more and not pay as much attention to the game.
But in the 81st minute, Japan tied the score and tension once again filled the room.
"No!" the patrons yelled.
As the game went into overtime and the United States reclaimed the lead on Abby Wambach's header in the 104th minute, a little girl covered her ears and looked terrified when many in the crowded room jumped and yelled with their hands in the air.
"I like women's soccer better than men's soccer," Fresno's Caleb Carter said with a smile as he turned to his friend and the two rejoiced about the goal. "There's more excitement, more sportsmanship. The women aren't flopping all the time, either."
But Japan would not go away, tying the score with a goal in the 117th minute.
"You see that?" a fan said. "It was like a karate kick!"
Tied after overtime, the game moved into penalty kicks and fans at The Mad Duck became more and more nervous.
"Come on," another fan yelled. "Storybook time. Let's do this."
But the United States missed its first three penalty kicks and Japan made two of its first three. On Japan's fourth attempt, the ball cleared a diving Hope Solo and sailed high into the back of the net to seal the unlikely upset.
"The outcome is not what we wanted, but hopefully the game was exciting enough to help the sport grow and get more girls to come out and play soccer because it's a great sport," said Clovis' Sarah Weigant, who has a daughter who plays at Buchanan High.
"I hope there's a lot of young girls who watched the game and are hoping that this could be them some day."