The Globe -- Bethlehem
Tuesday, September 9, 1919
FOREIGN EXPERT ON SOCCER GAME
What He Has to Say of Local Team and Its Members in
FIRST CONTEST ABROAD

The account of the first game played by the Bethlehem soccer champions has been received by the office of the Bethlehem Steel Company. The contest was with the A. I. K. team (Almanna Idrotts Klubbeau which translated means General Sporting Club), ending in a tie score at two goals each. This is the contest that was witnessed by 20,000 people. Through the courtesy of the soccer officials, the following is the account, translated from a Swedish newspaper:

"A. I. K. surprised the public and themselves in holding the Americans' furious pace and even in pressing the Americans hard during the last half-period. The result for the first half period was 1 to 0 in favor of the Yankees.

"The Bethlehem players could not find themselves in this first match. The center forward was indisposed and the line was not as good as expected. Thousands of persons could not get through the gates of the Stadium.

"The first Swedish-American match in the great football tournament was a real success. Stadium was filled to its capacity, 20,000 with several thousand outside. People bid as high as 100 Kr. For a ticket, but could not get a seller, which shows that there is still money in old Sweden, and it also shows that the interest in football is still higher, and also that the Stadium is sometimes too small.

"Bethlehem Steel Company, America's best team, played an undecided game, 2 to 2, against A. I. K. It might as well be said that the team from Stockholm played a better game than was expected. Such a game -- to use the players own words -- the A. I. K. has not played since the day when the Liverpool team visited Stockholm. Now to the game. Some people say that they were disappointed in the American team. Why? Because they did not beat the A. I. K. It is true that they, in this their first match in Stockholm did not play the Scotch play that was expected from them. The forward line did not hold together very well, and the halfbacks did not follow properly when they were pressed the hardest by the A. I. K. These combinations did sometimes not succeed and especially Ratican, the center, was for the day, indisposed. The sped was just the same, greater than what had been seen in Stadion for many a day. Add to this that the Americans played their first match in a foreign country on a practically strange field and before a foreign crowd and for their own local team, partisan public. They were during the first half period nervous and this nervousness did not disappear during the second.

"The Bethlehem players who made the best impression on the public seem to be the left forward, Fleming. He was also the speediest man on the field, his centerings were delicate and laid with excellent precision, his rushes were always dangerous and his shot were not to play with. You will seldom see that man make a bull when he has the ball in front of him. Next to him was Ferguson the left-back. His kick is the cleanest you can wish to see. No matter what position he is in, he always takes the ball directly and it goes usually where he wants it. Quick, resolute and to excess refined, as ball players of course. His comrade to the right, Wilson, also made a very fine work. The backs excelled in three clean breaks and pleasing layouts. Campbell the center halfback was good as expected. He was to be found everywhere, where anything was to be done, good ball player, powerful and hard, fair in the play and above all, a prominent head player.

"The Bethlehem players were distinguished for their good headplay.

"The little round Scotchman, Pepper on the left-half who was working energetically, quickly and with apparent contempt for death, was for the day, felling best of the halfbacks. Murray on the right side showed great speed and also a sure handling of the ball. Against the line of halfbacks can as before, is said, that remark be made that it held badly together in the second half when they were pressed by the A. I. K. This was not a result of weariness, as was plainly seen, but rather from the surprise they got from the well-playing Stockholm team.

"Duncan, the goalkeeper, had really too little to do, to show what he could perform. Mostly he had to put his hand on long shots and those he caught easily without exerting himself. He could possibly have taken the first goal Berkstrom made. But it is not to wonder over that he got surprised at the quick shot from a small angle. The public got impatient because he went so slowly after the ball. He did not do this on purpose, as he afterwards explained. Those calm movements are the ways with him. But for the next match and for the first time in Stadion, there will be appointed small boys, so that the goalkeepers will not be required to run after the balls themselves. An arrangement which previously has been pointed out by the Dagens-Nyhetter.

"The forward line was distinguished for its great speed. As soon as the backs' long balls came down against the Swedish goal, the situation always got more or less dangerous, due to the great speed of the players, and Hillerstrom had no easy time when the Yankees came rushing. Ratican was as previously said, not in his usual form and had slept badly the night before. He had also complained of headache in the morning . Once in awhile you could see what a dangerous player he really is. Sometimes he made dribblings over the half-field when attacked hard. But he never got a chance to send off any of his gigantic shots which perhaps was lucky for Hillerstrom. Fleming has already been mentioned as the most popular player in the forward line. Forrest, left-inner, had a sure way of handling the ball, but he is no combination player. Stark worked better and laid out very nice balls to his outer player. McKelvey on the right outer showed himself to be an especially good ballplayer, but had some difficulty in getting his centerings past Lundberg, who in his turn again showed that he is the right man to hold a speedy outer down.

Statistics of the Game

Bethlehem laid up 2 corner kicks in the first and 4 in the second half period. A. I. K., respectively, 3 and 1. Back kicks: Bethlehem 4 and 9; A. I. K. 9 and 7; Free kicks, Bethlehem go 3 and 3; A. I. K. got 9 and 3.

All these figures with the exception of the free kicks are in favor of the Americans, and the free kicks have certainly to be laid to their eagerness.

A peculiar thing is this, that the team which was best in their respective half-periods, got less corners and this has to be laid on the current rule, that solitary attacks are more dangerous and consequently harder to disentangle.

The back kicks show plainly where the ball mostly was to be found.


1919-1920
Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club 1