The absence of Archie Stark, premier scorer of the American Soccer League, in the Bethlehem Steel lineup on Saturday afternoon, when the team tackles Fall River, on the home field, was feared at training quarters this morning.
For several weeks Stark played under a handicap of an injured knee which has developed more seriously and this week required drastic treatment. The knee was injured in a previous game against Fall River. While the best medical attention possible is being administered and hopes are entertained that he will be fit to take his regular position, there is now considerable uncertainty.
With Stark missing on the forward line, the Bethlehem attack will lose its most threatening asset. Regardless of whether he has been able to score or not, the presence of the league scorer, with the front liners, has a tendency to draw the defense to him, allowing greater freedom of his fellow forwards.
In the event that Stark is unable to start, Jim Purvis, secured this season from the Philadelphia club, is most certain for the assignment. Purvis is really the only other forward on the team that has had experience at the pivot job. It is practically certain that the two Johns, Granger and Jaap, will comprise the right wing against the league leaders, giving Jaap his first opportunity of the season to display his wares against the New England club. The left wing will see Malcolm Goldie on the outside, but a choice between Robertson and Rollo has not yet definitely been made.
It is possible that Fall River will field one player to make his first appearance against Bethlehem, but if the change is made, it should strengthen the club rather than weaken it. The player is Wilson, a center halfback, heralded as one of the best in the league. Wilson was the early season property of Fall River, but chaffing under idleness was farmed out to Shawsheen. With the latter club he impressed that strongly that he was recalled.
With fairly decent weather, soccer enthusiasts should witness a game that will be played with all the grueling features of a cup contest.