American soccer writing, history & data.
In April 1930, less than a month after the close of the St. Louis Professional Soccer League season, Phil Kavanaugh, manager of the Madison Kennel Club team, purchased that franchise from William and Frank Clark. The team, which Kavanaugh would continue to manager, would gain a new sponsor and be renamed as Coca-Cola. Along with the usual league schedule and National Challenge Cup matches, the SLSL teams also took part in the newly-organized Inter-City Exhibition Soccer Series for the Joseph Triner Cup. Along with the four St. Louis teams, the competition also included six teams from Chicago, two from Cleveland, and two from Detroit. Johnny Marre's Tabler team made to to the semifinals of the Triner Cup by beating Jugo-Slav American of Chicago 4-1 on December 14, 1930 at Sportsman's Park.
At the end of December, Winton E. Barker resigned as president of the Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis. He had been president of the league since its founding in 1915 but ill health and pressure from his work as head of Hoyt Jewelry Co. proved too much. Stockholders did not name a new president but installed Phil Riley, long-time treasurer, as acting chairman of the Board of Directors.
On March 2, 1931, Ben Miller defeated Slavia of Cleveland 2-1 before 3500 at Sportsman's Park to win the NCC Western Semifinal. But, over the next two Sundays, the Hatters lost the first two matches of the best-of-three Western Final 7-2 and 1-0 to Bricklayers of Chicago.
The next two Sundays were the last two league matches of the season. On the final Sunday, March 29, Tabler was beating Coca-Cola 1-0 with almost no time left on the clock. With a victory, Tabler would win the title by a point over Coca-Cola. But, a penalty kick by Joe Hennessy with only seconds let in the match gave Coca-Cola the draw and the league title. Kavanaugh's Coca-Cola ended at the top with 19 points even though a number of big defeats meant a shocking -10 goal differential. Tabler and Hellrung & Grimm ended with 17 points each. And, Ben Miller, who lost the final game 4-2 to Hellrung, came in fourth with 16 points just two out of the top spot. It was the closest race in league history.
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