1918/1919 National Challenge Cup Round 2: After Spanish Flu, tourney resumes with controversy, promises of gold watches

Posted by | September 4, 2019
A team photo of Roses FC (Detroit) from 1919

A team photo of Roses FC (Detroit) from 1919

100 years ago, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (then known as the National Challenge Cup) crowned its sixth national champion. Prior to Tuesday’s 106th edition of the US Open Cup Final, TheCup.us begins a five-part series that jumps in a time machine back a full century to see what obstacles the 1918/1919 tournament faced. The game and the world itself was very different 100 years ago. World War I was wrapping up in Europe and there was an outbreak of the Spanish Flu around the country. The United States and the game of soccer were likely unrecognizable to the modern fan, so we decided to take a look back to see how it all played out.

Editor’s note: As you read this, you’ll notice a lot of players with just one name. This is not an oversight on our part, but rather, many of the sources of this information (newspapers, publications etc.) only use the last name of players in their stories. If you have confirmation of any of their names, or any other details that would add to our historical records, feel free to reach out to us HERE. We are always looking for help with historical research.

Check out the other entries in this five-part series: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | QuarterfinalsSemifinals & Final

1918/1919 National Challenge Cup – Second Round

Eastern Bracket

With the Spanish Influenza threat cleared, the Second Round of the 1918/1919 National Challenge Cup got under way in November of 1918. The first two games in the East were a pair of 6-0 blowouts in New England as tournament favorites J & P Coats and Fore River FC cruised to easy victories. On Nov. 16, Coats took on Olneyville Oaks of Providence, RI at Coats Field in Pawtucket, and Bob Carroll and Allcock each scored twice as Coats scored all six of their goals in the first half. The next week in Methuen, Mass., Fore River FC overwhelmed hosts Merrimack Valley, 6-0. Clawson, Bradford and Daley gave the shipbuilders a 3-0 first half lead, before Jack Kershaw added two more and Stradon another in the final half.

When play resumed on Dec. 1, the day’s card featured a mix of protested games and forfeits. In the opener of a doubleheader at Clark’s Field in Newark, N.J., Scottish American FC had an easy time with Teitjen & Lang Drydock. The Scots received two goals from Allen, and one each from Chadwick, Eadie, Seigel and Adamson in their 6-0 win. The Scots would get bad news from the United States Football Association (USFA, now known as the United States Soccer Federation) a week later, as James C. Chadwick was suspended until Feb. 1, 1919 for striking Teijten & Lang halfback J. Craig.

A team photo of Merchants Ship (Bristol, PA) from 1919

A team photo of Merchants Ship (Bristol, PA) from 1919

The second contest of the day featured the most controversial game of the tournament between Federal Shipyard and Merchant Shipbuilding B. With Merchants pushing toward the Federal goal, referee William Russell accidentally blew his whistle after coughing. When play stopped, instead of calling for play to resume, Russell picked up the ball and bounced it on the ground to resume play. Federal Ship won the game 2-1, but Merchants successfully protested the result and the USFA called for a replay on Dec. 25 at the same venue. The teams played a back-and-forth affair, as Ingram and Fisher twice gave Federal a lead in the first half only for Nolan and Graham to equalize for the Merchants. As extra time loomed, the Federals came out on top when Moran scored in the final minute.

Paterson FC had an easy day against Jersey AC, winning 9-2 at Olympic Park in Paterson, N.J., powered by a hat trick from Rudy Hunziker and two goals from Harry Blaisch.

By far the closest game of the round was at Todd Field in Brooklyn, where Robins Dry Dock edged Bridgeport City 2-1. Garside and Hayes gave Robins a 2-0 halftime lead, but Bridgeport cut the lead in half in the second half on a 30-yard drive from Shaw. Bridgeport failed to find the net again, although Robins defender Robertson didn’t help matters by repeatedly kicking the ball over the fence in order to waste time.

Finally, Morse Dry Dock gained a forfeit victory when Chinese Students FC failed to appear, and New York FC won by walkover when Viking FC failed to secure a ground to play the game However, the nature of the forfeits were explained on Dec. 8 by the USFA during the draw for the Third Round. The Chinese Students FC’s failure to appear at Lenox Oval was due to Morse Dry Dock changing the time of the kickoff without consulting them. Viking FC’s failure to secure a ground was the result of New York FC not allowing them to use their ground for the game. The USFA reprimanded both clubs, but surprisingly allowed the forfeits to stand.


The Second Round in the West kicked off in Detroit and Chicago.

On Nov. 10 in Detroit, Roses FC blanked Solvay FC 4-0 at Solvay Park, and Detroit FC won by forfeit over Corinthians FC.

Article from Akron Evening Times - Nov. 29, 1918

Article from Akron Evening Times – Nov. 29, 1918

In Chicago, the Scottish American FC staged a comeback to defeat Harvey FC. The visitors from Harvey, Ill. took a 2-0 lead at halftime on goals from Pierce and Guthrie. The Scots answered by scoring five in the second half, one each for Brown and Mair, and a hat-trick from Crosby. A week later in Chicago, Bricklayers & Masons FC were edged by Lincoln Park 1-0.

In Cleveland, the Magyar American FC plated to a 1-1 draw with Hydraulic Pressed Steel at Luna Park. Engelke scored for the Magyars and Dalziel scored from the penalty spot for Hydraulic. In the replay a week later, Gyma put Magyar in front after 10 minutes, and Todd answered for Hydraulic 10 minutes later off a cross from Curran. Hoffman put Magyar back in front in the 50th minute, and Mathison extended the lead five minutes later on a penalty kick after Hoffman was brought down in the penalty area. Dalziel scored a 90th minute consolation goal for the losers.

Elsewhere, in a rare Thanksgiving Day game, the Akron tire makers, Goodyear, thrashed Goodrich, 8-1.

In Pennsylvania, two cup games were scheduled for Nov. 23, but only one took place. Homestead Steel got a free pass to the Third Round when Pittsburgh FC withdrew due to a shortage of players yet to return from the war.

At Bethlehem Steel Athletic Field, the visiting Merchant Shipyard A team had a little more incentive to beat Bethlehem Steel. Club President William T. Wilson promised to buy all his players gold watches if they pulled off the upset over the Steelmen. The gesture must have worked as the underdog shipbuilders pushed the defending champions to their limit.

Merchants scored first after 12 minutes through Hyslop. Then, Bethlehem took control, with George McKelvey leveling the score around the 30th minute off a cross, and Jimmy Easton putting his side ahead three minutes later from 18 yards out. Butler put Bethlehem up 3-1 soon after on a cross from Tommy Fleming. Bethlehem gave a goal back just before the break, as Fletcher was called for a hand ball inside the penalty area, and Dugan converted the subsequent spot kick to leave Bethlehem ahead 3-2 at the half.

About 22 minutes into the second half, Heminsley gained possession from a thrown-in and put Merchants even at 3-3. The remainder of the 90 minutes was a 50/50 game between the teams, with neither able to pull ahead. Seven minutes into extra time, Merchants defender McKay handled the ball in the box and Tommy Fleming scored on the penalty kick to give Bethlehem a 4-3 lead that they would hold on to for the remainder of extra time, denying Merchants an upset win, and a set of gold watches.

1919 National Challenge Cup
Second Round Results

November 10, 1918

Roses FC 4:0 Solvay FC
Solvay Park – Detroit, MI

Detroit FC W:L Corinthians FC
Solvay Park – Detroit, MI
Detroit FC advances via forfeit

Scottish American FC 5:2 Harvey FC
42nd Ave. & Chicago Street – Chicago, IL

Scoring Summary
Scottish: Crosby (3), Brown, Mair
Harvey: Pierce, Guthrie

November 16, 1918

J & P Coats 6:0 Olneyville Oaks FC
Coats Field – Pawtucket, RI

Scoring Summary
J & P Coats: Bob Carroll 17’ 2nd Half, Allcock 1st Half (Taylor) 1st Half (Carroll), Bennie Taylor 15’, Turner 1st Half (Allcock)

November 17, 1918

Bricklayers & Masons FC 1:0 Lincoln Park
Chicago, IL

November 18, 1918

Magyar American FC 1:1 (AET) Hydraulic Pressed Steel
Luna Park – Cleveland, OH

Scoring Summary
Magyar: Engelke (Hoffman)
Hydraulic: Dalziel (PK)

November 23, 1918

Merrimack Valley 0:6 Fore River FC
Methune, MA

Scoring Summary
Fore River: Jack Kershaw 2nd Half, 2nd Half, Clawson 15’, Bradford 20’, Daley 1st Half, Stradon 2nd Half

Bethlehem Steel 4:3 (AET) Merchant Shipyard A
Bethlehem Steel Athletic Field – Bethlehem, PA

Scoring Summary
Bethlehem: George McKelvey 30’, Jimmy Easton 33’, Butler 1st Half, Tommy Fleming (PK) 97’
Merchants: Hyslop 12’, Dugan (PK) 1st Half, Heminsley 67’

Homestead Steel W:L Pittsburgh FC
Homestead Steel advances after Pittsburgh FC forfeits due to World War I enlistments

November 24, 1918

(REPLAY) Magyar American FC 3:2 Hydraulic Pressed Steel
Luna Park – Cleveland, OH

Scoring Summary
Magyar: Gyma (Hoffman) 10′, Hoffman 50′, Mathison (PK) 55′
Hydraulic: Todd (Curran) 20′, Dalziel 90′

November 28, 1918

Goodrich FC 1:8 Goodyear FC
Goodrich Field – Akron, OH

December 1, 1918

Federal Shipyard 2:1* Merchant Shipbuilding B
Clark’s Field – Newark, NJ
*Merchants Ship protest due to referee error upheld, replay ordered

Scottish American FC 6:0 Teitjen & Lang Drydock
Clark’s Field – Newark, NJ

Scoring Summary
Scottish American: Allen 2nd Half, 2nd Half, Chadwick 1st Half, Eadie (Chadwick) 1st Half, Seigel 1st Half, Adamson 1st Half

Paterson FC 9:2 Jersey AC
Olympic Park – Paterson, NJ

Scoring Summary
Paterson: Hunziker 1st Half, 1st Half (Brown), 2nd Half (Brown), Harry Blaisch 1st Half, 2nd Half, Davey Brown (Blaish) 1’, Morell 45’, Shanholdt 2nd Half, Spence 2nd Half (Own Goal)
Jersey AC: Kay 2nd Half, Barclay 2nd Half

Robins Dry Dock 2:1 Bridgeport City
Todd Field – Brooklyn, NY

Robins: Garside, Hayes
Bridgeport City: Hirst

Morse Dry Dock W:L Chinese Students FC
Lenox Oval – Manhattan, NY
Morse Dry Dock advances after Chinese Students FC forfeit (failure to appear)

New York FC W:L Viking FC
Viking FC forfeit, failure to secure a field

December 25, 1918

(REPLAY) Federal Shipyard 3:2 Merchant Shipbuilding B
Clark’s Field – Newark, NJ

Scoring Summary
Federal: Ingram 8′, Fisher, Moran 90′
Merchants: Nolan 25′, Graham (PK)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.