That the soccer played in the East is superior to that in the West was clearly demonstrated in Taylor Stadium, Lehigh University, on Saturday afternoon when the Champion Steel Workers decisively defeated the Bricklayers and Masons F. C. of Chicago, in the semi-final of the National Cup competition. The final score was 5 goals to none, two counters being registered in the early minutes of the first half while the other three came in rapid succession in the closing minutes of play. The victory qualified the Steel Workers to compete with Paterson for the National Cup honors of which they have been for the last three times winners. In addition to these laurels the Steel Workers have already annexed the National League title and have entered the final round of the American Cup.
A high wind that swept across the big stadium marred the playing at times and made the conditions anything but ideal for the contest. Both teams, the visitors coming here heralded as a combination featuring their playing with long sweeping passes from one side of the field to the other, while on more than one occasion the long passes of the champions have proved effective -- were forced to confine the playing to short passes and dribbling and in this the Steel Workers completely outclassed their rivals. The sharp piercing blasts that swept across the arena chilled the spectators to the bone, but the several hundred who braved the elements remained to the final whistle and displayed their enthusiasm with frequent outbursts of applause. Included among the spectators were several persons prominent in soccer who came here from Philadelphia and New York to witness the game. Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the United States Football Association, had charge of the game and was accompanied here by Mr. Viberger of New York. The later is negotiating for a series of exhibitions games in Europe and it is understood is anxious to include several of the Bethlehem players among his All-American lineup. One disappointing feature was the absence of Vidiano, the sterling outside left, who is conceded one of the greatest little soccer players in the country. The visitors' management notified the local management that this celebrity would be among the players but when the lineup was submitted to the referee, his name was among the missing. Inquires brought the information that Vidiano was injured in a practice game and was unable to accompany the team.
After the first few minutes of play it was readily seen that the champions outclassed their rivals and it was only a question of how many goals the home players would roll up on the visitors. Only twice during the entire ninety minutes of play were the Chicago players dangerous and on one of these occasions a sensational save by Duncan enabled the Steel Workers to blank them without a score.
Manager Sheridan had the champions trained to the minute and schooled along the line of play presented by the Westerners the Steel Workers defense baffled every attempt to locate the Bethlehem goal. Only at long intervals were the visitors able to carry the ball into Bethlehem territory and then only for a short stay before the sphere was returned to enemy territory. Most of the play was consumed with Bethlehem antagonizing the visitors' goal and on more than one occasion the high wind caromed the ball around the uprights or over the bar on what would otherwise have been perfect tries. To the weather condition the visitors' can attribute the fact that the score was not rolled up higher.
The visitors were scheduled to arrive on Friday night but missed a train connection at Buffalo and did not get here until Saturday morning. They established their headquarters at the New Merchants' hotel and remained there until in the evening when they returned to the West. On the field the visitors' sported the colors of Blue and White while the Bethlehem contingent wore red and white. The game had all the setting of the championship classic and when the referee walked out on the field the fans sat back expecting to see the champions confronted with the most severe test of the season. The Chicago players came here with a clean slate but returned home with the first defeat of the season registered against them and were eliminated from further competition for the National Cup honors.
Favored by the wind, Bethlehem got an early start but their quick scoring did not faze the visitors who fought hard to the very end. Campbell won the toss, Chicago kicking off against the wind. Bethlehem forced the play and after the first three minutes gained a corner, McKelvey placed the ball well, and aided by the wind, the sphere circled directly under the cross bar where Goalkeeper Homes mad a hard attempt to save but tipped the ball into the net. With this early success Bethlehem played hard and dented the visitors' defense with apparent ease. A few minutes later Fleming from close range shot the ball toward the goals but a fine save by Homes prevented a score. Millar scored the second goal in a scrimmage practically under the cross bar. The score was the direct result of a corner, Fleming placing well to Forrest, who headed to Millar, the later booting the sphere for the second counter with Homes having no chance to save.
Following this McKelvey forced a corner kick, but no additional point resulted, and then Ratican had a good chance to score, but shot wild.
Bethlehem, with t he wind behind their back, continued to press, and Millar soon had a good chance to shoot for goal, but the ball went high over the post.
Parry and Heath here put in some good play for Chicago, but failed to score. Later Bethlehem gained another corner, and soon after Goalkeeper Homes again prevented a score. Herron, for Chicago, at this point played well, but it was broken up by Wilson. Shortly after this Fleming had a fine opening, but missed scoring by a narrow margin. Bethlehem gained another corner, and although it was paled by McKelvey no score resulted.
Chicago broke away again, and Stewart's shot went right over the goal. This was their first shot at goal after 25 minutes play. Chicago forwards rallied, passing the ball nicely to each other. Ferguson soon drove them back, however, punting up the field, but Fleming was off side. Later McKelvey shot wide. Chicago forwards then broke away again, but Brown secure the ball. Bethlehem soon gained another corner, McKelvey's center striking the crossbar. Dixon was now putting in good work for Chicago, blocking punts repeatedly. Ferguson and Campbell also spoiled advances by the Chicago forwards. Although doing a lot of pressing, Bethlehem failed to add to their score before the interval.
In the second half, Ratican started play, dribbling nicely, but Erickson stopped him. Fleming managed to put in a shot at goal, the custodian saving. Ratican was conspicuous again, but held on to the ball too long. Millar then gave a pass to Fleming but Tommy shot wide.
Bethlehem continued pressing, and Dixon and Walker had to work hard to keep the ball from their goal. At last Chicago broke away, but when dangerous Ferguson stopped them. Fleming had a good chance to score after Goalkeeper Homes fumbled the ball, but waited too long. Stewart and Hawke then advanced the ball toward Bethlehem's goal. Herron then put in a good shot, Duncan making a great save. Play was again in Chicago territory, Ratican's shot being stopped by Holmes. Bethlehem was having all the best of the exchanges and Millar scored the locals' third goal with a good shot. Shortly afterward Millar, after some nice dribbling scored again. Millar was conspicuous continually and the Bethlehem halfbacks stopped Chicago's advances, Brown particularly doing good work. Fleming scored the last goal, taking the ball across the field.
Bethlehem -- Chicago
Duncan -- G -- Holmes
Wilson -- R. F. B. -- Dixon
Ferguson -- L. F. B. -- Walker
Pepper -- R. H. B. -- Erickson
Campbell -- C. H. B. -- Bromley
Brown -- L. H. B. -- Shaw
McKelvey -- O. R. -- Parry
Forrest -- I. R. -- Heath
Ratican -- C. F. -- Herron
Millar -- I. L. -- Hawke
Fleming -- O. L. -- Stewart
Goals -- Fleming, 1; Millar, 3; McKelvey, 1. Referee -- W. E. Hinds. Linesmen -- E. Waldron, Philadelphia, and J. H. Carpenter, Bethlehem. Time of halves. 45 minutes.