With favorable weather conditions the greatest crowd of the season is expected to attend the first round of the American Cup competition slated for Bethlehem Steel next Saturday afternoon. The contest is creating great interest in soccer circles and another grueling contest, such as the Merchant “A” game, is looked forward to. Manager Bowe of the New York Ship states that a big delegation of fans will accompany the team to Bethlehem and feels that his team has an even chance in upsetting the victorious strides of the champions, basing his opinion on the fact that the shipbuilders have been running up big scores against teams in the Shipyard League. He also claims that he is now familiar with the Bethlehem style of playing and that the recent changes in his line-up has greatly improved the teamwork with the result that their attack is more methodical than when they were defeated by the Steel Workers in the National Cup.
All the players of the Bethlehem team are in good physical condition and the strongest possible men will comprise the Steel Worker’s line-up. The tam that defeated Canada is almost certain to be the Bethlehem choice for Saturday.
Jimmy Easton, who was badly injured in the Merchant “A” game, is rapidly rounding into shape under the care of Dr. Shoudy and will soon be in condition to don a soccer uniform when the going gets heavy. Easton has few equals in this country, his rugged physique being a great asset to him. Easton took care of the vacancy at center-forward, caused through the illness of Harry Ratican. IN a mix-up with an opposing player, Easton was thrown heavily to the ground, injuring his back. Realizing that with the absence of one man the Merchants might be able to accomplish the much cherished feat of victory, Easton remained in the game to the finish, suffering great pain. The injury is of that nature that is slow healing and may cause him trouble for some time.
Harry Ratican, who fortunately recovered from his illness at a time when his services were greatly needed due to the injury of Easton, did not start against the Canadians with his usual playing ability. Harry probably should have laid off another week to thoroughly recover. However, as the game progressed, he began to show signs of his old-time form and was going at top speed in the closing minutes of play. His physical condition will be much more improved when he faces the shipbuilders.
“Jimmy” Murphy, the former star outside right on the Steel Workers’ championship soccer squad is expected most any day, according to Manager Sheridan. The latter is in receipt of a letter from “Jimmy” in which he says “Expect camp to be dismissed and look for my discharge daily.” Further Murphy says he is anxious to get back to Bethlehem and gain become active in soccer. When asked whether the return of Murphy would not break up the present make-up of the team, Manager Sheridan replied: “There is always room for a man of Murphy’s ability. He is still a youngster and in soccercdom has a bright future facing him.” One thing is certain that if he failed to make the Bethlehem team on his return other clubs would consider him a find of the season and hasten to enroll him among their soccer contingent.
The shipbuilders have scored sixteen goals and lost one in the Delaware Ship Yard League and up to date are undefeated in the competition.
Bethlehem players are liable to underestimate the ability of Tommy Swords because he has been unable to score in the last few games against them. If they make this mistake they will probably find the ball in the net quicker than they expect it. Tommy always has been one of the most dangerous men playing the game, quick to take advantage of an opportunity and an unerring shot.
The game will start at 2:30. Extra car service will be run from Third and New streets. James Kerr of Philadelphia will referee.