The kicker, instead of rolling the ball its own circumference or passing it to another Baltimorean, lofted it over the defenders toward the Atlanta goal, where it was caught by Connaghan.
"That was a silly play," said Blanch-flower, disgustedly. "You know, the chap could not have scored had the ball gone into the goal."
Unfortunately, the CBS presentation of this first soccer game seemed a bit hurried. The game began abruptly, with no introduction of players, so that the television spectators were never clearly aware of what positions the players were occupying or what their functions were supposed to be. When Whitaker did identify a player by name, which he did fairly often after a slow start, he generally left out his position and his country of origin.
Since it will obviously require a good deal of time and promotion before American viewers learn and appreciate the finer points of soccer strategy and tactics, it would seem that the most rewarding way to create interest among potential customers would be to develop individual stars. Yet, for most of the game, the only players TV spectators were really aware of were the two goalies, Sven Lindberg, the Swede who played a fine game for Atlanta, and Connaghan. No more mention was given St. Vil, the only scorer, than any other Baltimore player, even though he is regarded as the best player to come out of Haiti in many years. St. Vil may well become the darling of Baltimore soccer fans and could, conceivably, become a star who could attract TV fans.
Asher Welch, who passed the ball to set up St. Vil's score, has a twin brother, Art, also playing for Baltimore. Asher is a marvelously fast athlete who handles—or foots—the ball well and passes with speed and accuracy, but he, too, might have gone unremarked had not Blanch-flower underlined his importance with a brief anecdote.
"When the Bays [Blanchflower either thought the name of the Baltimore team was the Bears or his accent made it come out that way] signed these two lads, the scout had a big party in Jamaica," Blanchflower said. "He woke up in the morning with an enormous head and looked at them and didn't know if he had signed twins or was just seeing two of Asher."
Again, when the Baltimore goalkeeper blocked a shot with his face, Blanch-flower added a light note to the broadcast. "Bit of face-saving, that, Jock," he said to Whitaker.
The CBS formula for inserting the all-important commercials worked well in this first game, depriving viewers of almost none of the action. The commercials were run during the time taken for goal kicks, when the ball was kicked over the end line by the offense and brought out for the goalie to put into play.
Once or twice the cameras picked up the action a few seconds late but, for the most part, nothing was lost to commercials, a praiseworthy achievement in a game in which there are no timeouts. Of course, on the three occasions when a player was laid out on the field with an injury, the alert director seized the moments to plump a commercial in.
Overall, judging by the Baltimore- Atlanta TV presentation, soccer has much to offer and, potentially, a large audience. It has the advantage, even with this not quite top-grade class of performance, of continuous motion, exciting and sometimes violent action and obvious rules easy to understand. It is rather like hockey on a grand scale, but with a ball easy enough to see that the goal-scoring is never lost to view.