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Riverhounds unable to rally after Bethlehem gets out to quick 3-0 lead

| Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, 6:06 p.m.

Many Riverhounds fans might have missed the start of Sunday's game with Pittsburgh's attention focused instead on the Steelers. And by the time they tuned in, the damage already had been done.

Adam Najem and Cory Burke scored in the first eight minutes for Bethlehem Steel, and Burke added a third before Corey Hertzog scored twice in a Riverhounds comeback attempt that fell short, 3-2, at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem.

The Riverhounds (8-10-11) face a steep uphill climb to the USL playoffs with three matches remaining. They sit three points behind the eighth-place Steel (11-11-5), who have two games in hand, and four points behind Orlando City B (9-8-12), which also has three games to play.

Lax defending in the penalty area allowed the early Bethlehem goals, both of which were created by crosses that came into the box from the left side. The Riverhounds found their footing in the game after the early gut punch, but in the 37th minute, they were beaten by Burke, as the young Jamaican international player bolted through the center of the field an unleashed a long-range goal off the left post for his eighth of the season.

The Riverhounds made it 3-1 before halftime when Hertzog stole the ball in the Steel half of the field and got clipped from behind as he tried to shoot, earning a penalty kick. Hertzog, playing a short drive from his hometown of Reading, converted with a shot to the left side.

Hertzog matched his 2016 total with his 13th goal of the season in the 64th minute. This time, it was Chevy Walsh who stole the ball from the Steel defense, and he quickly fed Hertzog for the finish before Bethlehem's defense could react.

With his 26th goal for the Riverhounds, Hertzog moved into third in club history for goal by passing current D.C. United midfielder Rob Vincent.

Both teams exchanged chances over the final half hour, and possession ended only slightly in Bethlehem's favor, 52-48. In the end, the Steel's fast start was too much for the Riverhounds to overcome.

Matt Grubba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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