Judging from the struggle of both teams, the Second Round American Cup game at Bethlehem Steel Field on Saturday afternoon, between the Merchant Shipbuilding Corporation Team “B” and the Bethlehem F. C. should result in as find an exhibition of soccer as any game witnessed here this season. If the champions are able to emerge victorious, it will only be after a contest full of action from the opening whistle to the end. Because the visitors are known as the “B” team of the Bristol plant, many fans are under the impression that this squad is second to the Merchant “A” team and is made up of the surplus players not needed on the “A” squad. In this they are entirely wrong for both squads are independent of each other and comprise the best players available. The “B” team is in every sense as strong as the “A’s” which played such a sterling contest here a few weeks ago. The “B” team’s record to date is a brilliant one and the best efforts of the Steel Workers will be necessary if they expect to go into the Third Round of the Cup. If confidence will help the visitors then they ought to make a great fight for victory because they are brimful of that essential requisite.
Following practice last night, Manager Campbell stated that he expected to stage the surprise of the soccer season at the expense of the Steel Workers and believes that a victory for his proteges would certainly be the biggest surprise in soccerdom. The majority of the fans all over the country have become so accustomed to teams lowering their colors to the local team that news of Bethlehem’s defeat would be heralded everywhere as the achievement of the year. The condition of mind of soccer lovers is known to every member of the Bethlehem team, and although they rarely make any statements on the matter, they are quietly determined that the long expected event – a defeat – on Saturday, will have to be postponed just a little longer.
The Merchant “B” team is an aggregation of young players who have worked their way to the first rank of soccer circles and they depend more on speed and hustling tactics than they do on scientific combination and Saturday’s game will probably resolve itself into a contest between speed and aggressiveness on the part of the visitors and scientific passing by the champions.
Sam Fletcher is still suffering from the effects of the injury he received last Saturday, in the game against New York Ship, and will probably be unable to take part in the game Saturday. Jimmy Wilson is the most likely contender for the right fullback position and will probably take Fletcher’s place if a change is necessary.
Manager Campbell of the Merchant team was greatly disappointed when the Bethlehem management turned down his big offer to transfer the game to Bristol. The decision to play the game at home was arrived at only after serious consideration. The point that caused the management to refuse the Bristol offer was the fact that the loyal fans who are always behind the team would be greatly disappointed.
One of the strongest cogs in the Bethlehem aggregation is the ability of the players who are in reserve and always ready to step into a breach when called upon. The ability of the seven players in reserve is such that no player on the team can afford to let up his training at any time.
Where, oh, where, is the Booster Association?