Dave McEwan Detroit Chrysler FC

Wartime Football (1941): Pawtucket Wins the US Open

4:53 PMGoalChatter

Football During WWII

GoalChatter introduces a unique series that will highlight the oft-forgotten games, players and managers of wartime football. Every week will feature a match played in one of the many countries affected by the War.

Pawtucket FC vs Detroit Chrysler FC: 8:5 (on agg.)
1st leg: Pawtucket 4:2 (3:1) Detroit
May 4, 1941 - Pawtucket, RI
Attendance: 3,500
Referee: James Johnstone
Goals: Pawtucket: Mike Souza (3'), Walter Dick, Ed Valentine, Dave McEwan
Detroit: Tommy Ferrans (PK), Tony Barra

2nd leg: Detroit 3:4 (aet) Pawtucket 
May 11, 1941 - Detroit, MI
Attendance: 2,500
Referee: James Johnstone
Goals: Detroit: Neil Campbell, John Lenard, Tony Barra
Pawtucket: Ed Valentine (90'), Dave McEwan, Tom Florie 

Seven months before the US would officially join the War following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 28th edition of the National Challenge Cup (now known as the US Open Cup) featured two teams that few probably remember today, but both of which were quite worthy of the Cup final. Although the final standings of the 1940-41 ASL-II's New England Division are unavailable, Pawtucket were at the top in December 1940. The West's Detroit Chrysler was considered one of the best teams in the Open Cup during the late 30's and early 40's. Aside from their achievements in the ASL and the Cup, not much is known about either side, nor about the New England Division. 

According to thecup.us, Pawtucket defeated German Hungarian FC 8:1 on aggregate in the Cup semi-finals, while Chrysler won 5:1 over two legs against Gallatin-Dunlevy. Pawtucket won the first leg of the Cup final 4:2 after leading 3:1 at halftime. The 2nd leg saw three players make the scoreboard once again. Ed Valentine and Dave McEwan got goals for Pawtucket, the latter scoring a double, while Tony Barra found the net for Detroit. As the 2nd leg drew to a close, Detroit were in the lead with 3 goals to nil. Ed Valentine's 90th minute goal tied the aggregate score 5:5, sending the game into extra time. Pawtucket then scored three goals to win 8:5.

1941 marked a year of many lasts in US soccer. It was the last time a team from Rhode Island would win the Open Cup, and the closest a team from Detroit would get to winning a championship. Detroit Chrysler would make the Western Quarter-Finals of next year's Challenge Cup, only to disband after the controversy that transpired. Pawtucket's attempt to defend their title in 1942 ended in 2-1 and 4-2 defeats to Pittsburgh Gallatin.

The New England Division of the ASL-II disbanded at the end of the season, and its teams joined various amateur leagues.

The Players

Pawtucket's most well-known players were Tom Florie and Walter Dick. Both were capped for the US national team and played in World Cup tournaments. Florie, who also played for Fall River, served in the navy during the first World War, which delayed the start of his professional career until he was 24. He had a great goal-scoring record, credited with 126 goals in 317 games in the ASL. He played in all of the US national team's games in the 1930 and 1934 World Cup. Wearing the captain's armband in the first tournament, he scored the second goal in the USA's 3-0 win against Belgium. He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1986.

Team USA in 1930. Florie is bottom row, 2nd from the right.

Scottish-born forward Walter Dick represented the USA in WC 1934. Disappointingly, his only cap for the national team was their 7:1 loss to Italy. He made an appearance for an ASL All-Star XI against his home country Scotland in 1935, which, unfortunately for him, was another defeat. Nevertheless, he reached the final of the Challenge Cup three times with Pawtucket, and won two ASL titles with the Kearny Scots.
He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1989.

All stats via RSSSF and ussoccer.com.

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