Confidence personified is the attitude of the heads of both the Bethlehem F. C. and Fall River dribbling contingents, apparent by their predictions on the outcome of the game, but one or the other is bound to have this confidence severely jolted at the conclusion of the session at Dexter park, Brooklyn, N. Y. tomorrow afternoon, when these two teams meet to decide the issue in the Eastern final of the National soccer championship.
Of course, W. L. Lewis, chairman of the football committee of the Bethlehem clan, expects his players to win. And so does Sam Marks, owner of the Fall River club, of which Harold Brittan, former Bethlehem player, is playing manager. Each has given vent to his opinion and in the summing up of the changes both concede a hard game but victory for their respective crowd. Players have assumed a similar attitude, completing the setting of what should materialize into one of the most bitterly fought soccer contest in the history of the sport in this country.
Mr. Lewis says:
"I don't see any reason why the Bethlehem team should not win. We have shown consistent form throughout the season, and the team has at all times done everything I expected of it, and my expectations have been high. We are going into this great game with a proper respect for a splendid opposition, but we are going with confidence that, good as Fall River is, we are a shade better. We feel that a careful analysis of the games played by the two teams this year will show that the advantage, even through it may look slight, is with the Bethlehem team, and we are going to make that advantage carry us through to a victory of which we will be proud."
And Mr. Marks, owner of the Fall River contingent, seems even more optimistic than the local soccer head, expressing his opinion with the following:
"Win? Why, of course, we'll win. That is what we are going to Brooklyn for. My boys never felt better. I know we are going to have hard opposition. Those Bethlehem Bears have shown us a lot this season, but we have shown them a few things, too, and we are going to show them some more. Confidence is a big factor in a struggle like this, and my boys are strong in confidence. And they're there with speed and technique, too. We are going down there full of enthusiasm and we are coming back full of joy."
Bethlehem has defeated Fall River, boast the local fans, and are certain to repeat. However, Fall River also has a victory over Bethlehem, both games of which were played in the American Soccer League and incidentally victories were scored on the respective grounds.
In advancing to the final round of the National Cup competition, Fall River, it may be surmised, qualified much easier than Bethlehem. In only one round was Fall River forced to a re-play and that was early in the competition when J & P Coats battled to a draw but in the replay was defeated in a decisive manner.
Bethlehem, on the other hand, figured in two replays, one in the fourth round against the New York F. C., the first game of which was played in Bethlehem. In the return tilt in the home bailiwick of the strong Gotham clan, the Bethlehems showed their real merit when they eliminated the New York F. C.
Again in the semi-final with the Newark F. C. as the opponent were the Bethlehemites forced into a replay. Both games were played in Philadelphia. Conditions, field and weather, in the latter with the temperature flirting around the zero mark, were decidedly adverse to a soccer game and the contest ended in a one-goal draw. However, in the replay the week following the Bethlehems completely annihilated the Jersey crowd by rolling up a total of something like six goals against none for Newark.
Students of soccer who have been closely following the campaigning of the Bethlehems have noticed that the Steel Workers are always at their best in a cup game. Walter Jackson, the brilliant center forward, is one player at least that has displayed at his best in cup tilts and his performance in the Bethlehem victories have been nothing less than phenomenal. Spurred on by the laurels at stake, the players can be counted upon to acquit themselves in their best style.