With interest running rampant, the stage is all set for the final home soccer game and the season's classic on Lehigh Field on Monday afternoon at 5:30, when the Bethlehem F. C., will try and pile up enough goals to eliminate the New York Nationals in the playoff series for the American League championship.
Immediately after the game the soccer boosters will assemble at the Hotel Bethlehem for the scheduled meeting at which further plans will be outlined and suggestions entertained in devising ways and means of assuring the team sufficient support to keep the club in Bethlehem.
The meeting of the two champions, the National conquerors in the National Cup tie and Bethlehem, winner of the American League cup competition, forecasts a spirited battle and one in which neither club will relent an instant during the entire ninety minutes of hostility. Each will be fighting to survive the playoff series and emerge with the league championship honors.
The New York Nationals will field a club that has been highly successful in the last half campaign and practically the same players who booted the team to the National championship. Renzulli, the sensational goalie, will be between the uprights as the custodian and will be well fortified on the defense by Donald and Warden, a pair of aggressive and hard kicking fullbacks.
The halfback line will see the celebrated trio of Chatton, Slavin and Martin, while the offensive strength will be entrusted to Gallagher, Carlson, Henderson, Walker and McKenna. Henderson, the crack center forward, is one of the most recent acquisitions to the club and is reputed to rank with the best in the league. However, his goal scoring ability against Bethlehem has not been very impressive.
The tentative lineup announced by the management today is conspicuous by the absence of Tom Gillespie, dashing outside right and one of the mainstays of the Steelmen's forward line. Gillespie, also absent in the last game against the Nationals in which the New Yorkers won the honors by the score of 3 to 1, is nursing an injured knee. Every effort will be made to have him in shape for Monday night and although his starting at this time is doubtful some of the players believe that by kickoff time he will be sufficiently fit to take his position.
Should Gillespie be absent the forward line will have to be rearranged. Johnny Jaap, inside right and on rare occasions center forward, will be shifted to his old position at outside right with Granger at the inside berth. The left wing tentatively selected will see Rollo and Goldie on the left wing while Archie Stark will be at center forward.
McMeekin and Allan seem to have the call at this time for the fullback position with the veterans Bill Carnihan and Bob MacGregor on the halfback line. W. Reid will play the other half back position and Edwards will be in goal.
The championship is to be decided on a home-and-home basis, total goals to count. Thus the Nationals play in Bethlehem on Monday at 5:30 and the same teams will meet at the Polo Grounds in the second game at 9 p.m., while the Bethlehem club, if it wins, also is bound to play in New York, but is not bound to select the Polo Grounds.
On June 9 New Bedford will play at Fall Rive and on the Sunday following New Bedford will be at home to Fall River. The winner of this series will then meet the victor in the Boston test for the league crown. This also will be decided on a total goal basis after a home-and-home series.
The survivor of the series will secure possession of the D. W. Von Bremen trophy emblematic of the professional soccer championship of the United States.