Missing Link in a Perfect Defense
Convinced that there is something glaring lacking in the defense of the Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, and with the two important cup campaigns looming up, the success of the team hinges on a successful diagnosis of their weakness. It is very plain and readily understood that if Bethlehem is to capture any of the blue ribbon classics, the National cup tie, the first to get underway over the coming weekend, the defense must wake up. It is not functioning with the effectiveness characteristic of Bethlehem Steel teams and to be convinced of this one has but to compare the goal scoring against Bethlehem thus far this year to that of previous years. The forwards, too, fall down at times, but that is to be expected. It is the genuine consistency that the defense lacks that is causing quite some concern. In recent games the defense has proven miserably weak insofar as defending against free kicks is concerned. This assertion is emphatically borne out in a number of games in which goals were the direct result of free kicks. The games in mind are Bethlehem at Providence, Providence at Bethlehem, Bethlehem at Newark, Bethlehem at Fall River and again in the game against the New York Giants last Sunday. Five games in a row and in each one a goal resulting from a free kick. True, the Steelmen did not lose all of these games but nevertheless that does not eliminate the fact that the defense lacked on these efforts. Further convincing of the weakness of the defense in the vicinity of the goal in the Giants' game is the fact that one of the three corner kicks awarded the Giants proved productive. Other clubs seem well fortified for with something like an even dozen corner kicks awarded in Sunday's game, seven of which were conceded in the first 20 minutes of play in the second half, not one proved productive. This criticism is believed constructive, expressing the opinion of many Bethlehem soccer critics, and not typed with any intent to lower the morale of the team at this important stage of the season. Rather to inspire a greater determination and serious consideration in an effort to diagnose the exact ailment and provide the necessary remedy.
In Contrast to Last Season
Having available the record of the team last year, it might not be amiss after what has been typed o draw a comparison of the defensive strength of the Bethlehem Steel Club last year with that of this year. The goal scoring against is probably the best medium by which this can be determined. In competing the first half of this year's schedule, which comprised 29 games, 49 goals were scored against the Steelmen. Forty-four games comprised the league schedule last year and in this entire number, 52 goals were scored against the Steelmen. In regards to the latter it might be said that toward the close of the season last year when the championship was clinched before the schedule ended, Bethlehem might have been somewhat charitably inclined in presenting opponents with goals which otherwise might have been frustrated if the race had been close and hinged on the outcome of the very last game. Such a charitable disposition, however, must be entirely ignored with the approach of the cup ties. The team can ill afford to give away goals, expecting to overcome the lead before the end of the game, for to fail would prove to be fatal. One defeat and out must be indelibly inscribed on the mind of each player.
The First Half Championship
Bethlehem Steel is deadlocked with New Bedford for second place in the first half season championship. And that's that. The teams will probably play off the deadlock at the earliest possible dates for by the arrangement the first two teams of both halves will appear in the final round robin series for the league title. IF playing at home is an advantage, which many believe, it is the Steelmen were not favored in this respect for the locals did their stuff in 15 games on the 4oad and 14 at home. Boston and New Bedford each had 15 games at home and 14 on the road. Boston got a break with a reply game ordered on a technicality of a referee. The game in mind was a clash between Boston and the now defunct Phillies when the later were deprived of their most brilliant victory of the season. It was alleged that the Phillies played an ineligible man. The protest was upheld and later when the Phillies were totter on the rocks of doom and players were looking forward to the time when they would affiliate with other clubs, Boston came back and gave them a spanking. Thus adding two points which otherwise had been lost and which by the grand windup of the first half proved two important points to decide the issue. New Bedford, too, had a second crack at the league title by virtue of an upheld protest in a game with the Giants. But to no advantage for the Giants captured the replay.