Riverhounds keep slim playoff hopes alive with shutout of Orlando City B
Whether it was delaying the inevitable or the first step toward a miracle finish, it was a performance to be proud of from the Riverhounds.
Chevaughn Walsh scored his first professional goal in the 23rd minute, and Corey Hertzog sealed the result with a late breakaway goal to give the Riverhounds a 2-0 win at Orlando City B on Saturday at Titan Soccer Complex in Melbourne, Fla.
The win deals a blow to the playoff hopes of Eastern Conference eighth-place Orlando (8-10-8) and keeps ever-so-slim hopes alive for the Riverhounds (6-15-5), who trail by nine points with four games remaining.
Walsh, who signed last month and made his debut Aug. 27 in the 1-1 draw at Harrisburg, rewarded Riverhounds coach Dave Brandt for handing him his first pro start.
Kevin Kerr received a long ball forward down the left wing, opted to cross the ball early and found Walsh near the top of the penalty area. The 21-year-old Jamaican didn't hesitate with the chance, shooting on his first touch and powering the ball under the hand of Orlando goalkeeper Mark Ridgers.
For Walsh, it was his 17th goal of the calendar year after scoring 16 for the Ocean City Nor'Easters of the Premier Development league, but his first since inking a three-year deal with the Riverhounds.
The rest of the game was tightly played with possession even until the waning minutes, when Orlando began to push forward for a tying goal. The hosts won a series of late free kicks and corner kicks but didn't capitalize, and Hertzog put the game away by scoring on a breakaway that began 10 yards inside the Riverhounds' half. The goal was Hertzog's team-leading 12th of the season, putting him three behind league leader Jack McBean of Los Angeles.
Riverhounds goalkeeper Zack Steffen, on loan from MLS' Columbus Crew, recorded the team's second shutout and his first shutout win of the season.