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Tactical Breakdown: Numbers Forward in the Final Moments

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Two of Orlando City's most important goals of the season have came off of similar broken plays. We take a look at the benefits of pushing numbers forward in the dying minutes of a match.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

During the first half of the season, Orlando City was looking for a home result and they were given a lifeline against the New England Revolution when they earned a 2-2 tie in the 90th minute. Luke Boden found Aurelien Collin in the box for the equalizer. Almost five months later, history repeated itself as Boden again got on the end of an errant clearance and this time it was Seb Hines who had the finish in the 80th minute that secured three points and kept Orlando City's playoff hopes alive. These plays are very similar in the fact that Orlando City does a great job resetting after a clearance and then getting numbers into the box in late stages of matches.

The idea of putting numbers forward is something we see by teams who are looking to get a goal in late stages.  We take a look and when it all goes right for Orlando City.

Both plays start with balls played in and are cleared to Boden. You see the balls are cleared out to the flank where Boden is in excellent position to serve the ball back in.

In the New England example, Boden serves a good ball in, however, in the Montreal example, he mishits the ball. Either way, in Boden's position you need to get the ball back into the penalty area. The next part is getting numbers forward.  In both examples some of the tallest players are in dangerous areas.

The Montreal example was a little bit more complex. Hines has to get up and challenge for Boden's cross. He is able to get a small touch on the ball and it falls to arguably the most talented player on the Impact's team in Didier Drogba.

Drogba makes an absolute mess of the situation. Instead of blasting it 40 yards down the field, his clearing attempt falls right to Hines. Hines then volleys and it's not the most technical of finishes, but it hits the back of the net.

Take a look at both goals.

Collin Goal vs. New England Revolution

Hines Goal vs. Montreal Impact

Pushing numbers forward is critical to getting results and stealing points at the end of matches. Orlando City hasn't had much success with it most of the season, however, these two examples show they are capable of getting the points. If Orlando City does make the playoffs, they may be put in a position where they need to push numbers forward if they trail late in the match. The good news is Orlando City has the resources to grab a result by putting numbers into the box and serving balls in.