Monday, February 3, 2014

3 February 1929 - Their Glory Truly Was Fleeting

On 3 February 1929, the New York Nationals won the Lewis Cup over New Bedford, beating them 4-2 in a playoff.

The Nationals had been created in 1927, when owner Charles Stedham (who also owned the New York Giants baseball team) bought and rebranded an older team, Indiana Flooring. In that first season, they won the National Challenge Cup, the predecessor to the US Open Cup.

They got off to an equally impressive start in their second season, 1928-29, finishing third in the first-half standings and advancing to the final of the Lewis Cup, which served as the league cup for the American Soccer League. There, they lost the first leg to New Bedford, 3-2, then won the second leg 2-1, to set up a decisive single-game playoff, played at Hawthorne Field in Brooklyn.

After a scoreless first half, New Bedford took the lead with a 46th-minute goal from former Everton star Sam Chedzgoy. But midfielder Jimmy Gallagher (pictured), who had been with the Nationals since 1925 when they were still called Indiana Flooring, scored a hat-trick between the 56th and 73rd minutes, followed by a goal from striker Johnny Nelson as the Nationals went on to win 4-2 (Sam Kennedy was the other scorer for New Bedford).

It turned out to be the last trophy for the Nationals, who became the New York Giants in 1930, though they won the league title under their new name in 1931 before withdrawing from the ASL in 1932.

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