One of the greatest Eastern finals of the National soccer cup competition in the history of the game will be played at the Polo Grounds next Sunday when Bethlehem and Fall River fight it out for the right to meet the western champions in the grand finals.
Both finalists have made many appearances in the big final, Bethlehem having won the trophy five times while the Atlantic Coast League champion, Fall River, has annexed this coveted title thrice.
Interest in soccer locally which at times this season appeared to be ebbing, is again revived to the seething point and while the game is not to be played here a large delegation is expected to make the journey to New York.
Harry Bennett, of East Union Street, who is in charge of the bus arrangements, announced today that the subscription of reservations has far exceeded his expectations. Soccer boosters desiring to make the trip have until this evening to make reservations and until then it will not be definitely known how many of the big road bugs will comprise the bus caravan to the Metropolis.
Out around Lehigh gymnasium, the home playing and training grounds of the Bethlehem team, confidence reigns supreme. The sentiment expressed by players is that Fall River was lucky in the previous meetings but had better beware in the cup final. In every game played against Fall River this season the club was handicapped by the absence of one or more of the regulars and this condition carried right through to the last league game played in this city when Alec Dick, brilliant outside left and an important cog in the scoring machine was down with a threatened attack of pneumonia.
Tommy Gillespie, injured in the Giant game several weeks back, is going through his training stunts none the worse for the experience. Gillespie was available over the last weekend but was wisely laid up for a complete rest and recovery.
At the pivot position on the forward line Bethlehem will have that great Archie Stark, who like good wine seems to become better with age. The phenomenal soccer exhibition of Stark in the cup series and recent league games has been nothing short of sensational and if the brilliant center can repeat his efforts of recent games the Fall River defense will have plenty to worry it. On the right Stark will be flanked by the clever little Johnny Jaap at the inside position and speedy Tommy Gillespie, at outside right. Alec Massie, the blond inside forward with a terrific shot, and Dick, who in his brief career In this country is already ranked as the best outside left in major league soccer, will comprise the left flank. Both the latter are dangerous shots and with the scoring possibilities well distributed the Marksmen defense will find little opportunity to center its efforts on any one individual.
Big Bill Carnihan, veteran of many cup battles and center half back, Pitt, the speedy and daring sorrel topped mate who in his short stay has endeared himself to all soccer fans, and clever and robust Willie Reid will comprise the halfback line.
Two sturdy fullbacks in Bob McGregor and Fill Finlayson, with Tom Frazer in goal will comprise the last line of defense. With this team Bethlehem not only hopes to check the dizzy stride of the Marksmen but ride through the grand final round to its sixth National championship.