The Better Team Won
Defeat is a hard pill to swallow when one is all wrapped up in an outfit and usually through the partisan eye some excuse or alibi can be concocted. And quite often there is. However, the true sportsman is always ready to dole out some constructive criticism. "Bill" Foley, manager of the Ben Miller's of St. Louis, is one of these real sportsmen. Foley returned to St. Louis after the defeat of the Ben Miller's at the hands of the Bethlehem Steel F. C. for the National championship, and expounded some stuff which is constructive in every detail and if followed out will be to the profit of Western teams. Foley "made no bones" in his comments, drawing a comparison in which he sunk deep the impression that the eastern clubs are far superior, and with Foley, others associated with the club and the Soccer League not only corroborated this view, but spilled a line of suggestions that means something.
Must Do Constructive Work
"St. Louis soccer teams will have to do some constructive work quickly if we are to win any games from the strong Eastern teams next season," Foley is quoted as saying. "We were outplayed. We have no alibi to offer." Some of our players who appeared the steadiest throughout the regular season couldn't get a kick. The Bethlehem halfback line was one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of watching, but it seemed to me that their outside right, Johnny Jaap, and their right fullback Berryman were very ordinary players. After the game, Captain "Bill" Carnihan came into our dressing room and congratulated my players won the sprit which they displayed in defeat. Bill told my lads that, with proper coaching, they would give any team in the country a great battle.
League Treasurer Suggests a Way
That the visit East was educational insofar as it point out the defects of St. Louis soccer, is disclosed by the quoted comments of Phil Riley, a treasurer of the St. Louis Soccer League, who was also a spectator at the game. "We need not change the entire character of the game," Riley is quoted as saying, but a blind man could see that we are lacking in fundamentals, and if we don't correct them we are going to lose our prestige. A wise distribution of a half dozen foreign-trained stars would bring about an amalgamation of the American speed with the European thoroughness. That, I think would prove a real winning combination." Our impression of that game was that the Ben Miller's did not in the least lack speed, stamina and courage. They played hard in face of overwhelming defeat and never up to the final whistle did they lose courage. The suggestion of Riley, in our opinion is about the remedy needed, for with a few high class exponents to teach the more intricate fundamentals, the American products, we feel sure, would be quick to grasp the game. Speed, spirit, stamina and courage, qualifications of the American athletes, plus science in ball manipulation and organized combination would create and develop the desired result.
Faith Unshaken in St. Louis Club
A contrast to the opinion coming from club manager and league treasurer, is presented in the same news article by Tate Brady, manager of the Wellston Club, who was also a spectator at the game. He contends that the weak showing of the Miller's was due to the absence of one star and apparently is not of the opinion that there is room for improvement in St. Louis soccer. "The game was not nearly so one-sided as the score seems to indicate," Tate is quoted as saying. "McDonald, the Bethlehem right halfback, was a real star, but not once during the game did he take the ball away from Mulroy. Nash was as good a man as any other forward on the field, with the exception of Archie Stark. Had it not been for the fact that Stark is himself a clean player the Miller fullbacks might have given him a rough afternoon. I don't agree with those who say our football has gone stale. I think we can beat Bethlehem or any other team in the East provided we put our strongest combination on the field and not a crippled outfit such as the Millers were without Jimmy Dunn. I saw at least a half dozen openings that would have meant near goals for Dunn, but were nothing at all to Bollam, because Bollam can't play the same sort of game that Dunn delivers."
Lost When Matched With Speed
Referring back to the game, we are still of the opinion that with Jimmy Dunn in, the result would have been the same. As before recounted, St. Louis relied upon speed to sweep to victory over Bethlehem, and when matched with this fundamental and completely outclassed with science, the Westerners were lost in the going. There was no comparison of individuals, with probably one exception, and that was Berryman, who was completely off his game on that day. And it was Berryman's weakness that paved the way for the majority of St. Louis' raids. And it was his weakness that allowed the visitors left wing to run wild and prevent a total disappointment. The St. Louis left wing of which Nash, referred to by Mr. Brady, was the inside forward, and the occasional work of the center halfback, were the only bright spots in the Westerners' makeup.