The Crimson soccer team meets the University of Dublin at Soldiers Field today in an exhibition match that may mean much more than such games ordinarily do.
The visiting Irish squad has played eight games in its American tour so far, including a couple of losses to good teams like Brown (3-0) and University of Rhode Island (4-0).
If Harvard, without the services of Felix Adedeji, can manage some sort of respectable victory over Dublin, then there may still be hope for a decent season. But that's not likely.
Adedeji is out at least until Wednesday and, as if that were not enough, forward Bassey Ate may see little or no action. Both suffered injuries in the Crimson's sloppy win over MIT earlier this week.
That game had to discourage any wishful thinking about Harvard's chances this year. In their two previous meetings the Crimson overwhelmed the Engineers, 9-0 and 5-0. MIT played Harvard to a stand-still on Wednesday and only Ralph Booth's fluke goal prevented the tie.
Some people played well: Captain Steve Kidder covered the goal precisely and used his head. Brian Fearnett was easily the most solid and consistent player Harvard had and Lawson Wulsin seemed to team well with Fearnett in the backfield.
Senior midfielder Ric La Civita has improved quite a bit, and sophomore forward Steve Hines looked good against MIT needing only experience to be a real contributor. But Harvard doesn't have half the talent and depth it is accustomed to.
The only real scoring threat the Crimson has is Adedeji. Every squad Harvard meets will double team him when he has the ball and shadow him all the time. This year there are no other brilliant forwards like Papagianis or Hinze to pass to.
Crimson coach Bruce Munroe plans to try out quite a few people in the forward spots today. Senior Tony Van Niel will play along with sophomore Robert Thompson. Senior Jean Pierre Gilbertz, a transfer student currently trying to get the NCAA to rule on his eligibility, will be able to play this one exhibition match.
Munro was less than optimistic last night about this year's team. "People are spoiled here," he said. "We have an enthusiastic and hard-working squad but we just don't have the talent of the last few years. Those were exceptional years."