Pent up enthusiasm awaiting the opening of the American Soccer League season in Bethlehem will be unleashed on Saturday afternoon on Lehigh Field, when the Bethlehem F. C., national champions, fire their first big gun in the pennant campaign against Fall River, National champion.
A hard week of training for the Bethlehems was concluded after a long regular game practice on Thursday afternoon. Players returned to the showers tired by physically fit, awaiting the decision of the management in the final selection of the team. Light work for today, only enough to keep the players limbered up, was prescribed as the finishing touch in conditioning for the Fall River meeting.
While speculation was rife as to which players would comprise the makeup of the Bethlehem team it is almost assured that it will be a veteran combination. For the forward line there is no doubt but that Archie Stark, fit as a fiddle and ambitious for another scoring record, will be at his regular position at center forward. The outside front liners will most likely be Malcolm Goldie and Johnny Jaap. Johnny Granger who gave a brilliant display in the exhibition game here and in the league contest at Newark, sizes up as the logical candidate for the inside right position. The only position doubtful in the forward line is at inside left at which Rollo seems favored for preference. With the combination the new forward acquisitions will have to wait until Sunday to show their stuff, when the Bethlehems oppose the New York Giants on the latter's pitch.
While substituting will be one of the new features to be introduced this year, there are others that will contribute to the attractiveness of the game. One has to do with officials who will eliminate the frequently disputed decision relative to the ball being "in" or not.
The league has included goal judges to act in all games. They will be stationed at the goals and no mistakes can be made should the referee by chance be unable to make a decision. The inclusion of field judges will be given each game officials, including the two linesmen and the referee.
The management hopes that t he opening home game with such a worthy opponent will be a gala occasion and that the fans will turn out en masse to lend their moral support to the efforts of the players. In Fall River the game would undoubtedly attracted thousands, a crowd which would be a great impetus in encouraging the home owners in their strife for the opponent. The kickoff will be at three o'clock, with Jimmy Walders as referee.
Bethlehem F. C. vs. Fall River
J & P Coats vs. Giants
Boston vs. Brooklyn
New Bedford vs. Indiana
Springfield vs. Newark
Philadelphia vs. Providence
Giants vs. Bethlehem
Indiana vs. Philadelphia
Brooklyn vs. New Bedford
Newark vs. Boston
Fall River vs. Springfield
Providence vs. Coats