Desperation Time: How to Score the Vital Equalizer

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Defeat is a painful experience in soccer, and when your team is behind and you know the game clock is ticking down, pressure builds to a point of desperation as your team fights and pushes on to get that needed game-tying goal.  As the pressure magnifies, some players crumble and commit silly errors, while defenders have to be on their toes as your hopeful, forward-venturing players will leave the back end exposed.  So what is the best way to scrape a draw at the end of a match?

First off, you want to make sure that your team still defends.  Don’t throw everything forward until you know there is only a minute or two left in the game.  Since your players will be attacking and pushing forward there is a greater chance that the opposing team will make a counter-attack and score again on you.  If you are down two goals, coming back is twice as hard.

Have the back line push up a little further, and likewise push you wide defenders a bit more up.  Wide players are good at breaking down defenses and can help to send in crosses that can result in a goal, but don’t throw caution to the wind….at least not yet.

The opposition will likely be defending with all their might, which will make them harder to break down.  A good way to defeat this is to kick a lot of balls into the penalty area through crosses and passes.  Try to have at least two forwards in their box during these plays.  Crosses result in confusion for defenses, especially in the box.  Who knows what can develop.  The ball could bounce off of a defender right to your striker, or the goalie can make a mess of a clearance leaving your team with a wide-open goal.  Putting the ball into their box can lead to chances, regardless of how many players they have back.

Also teach your players to look for breakdowns in the opponent’s defense for opportunities.  The trick to this is to pounce quickly.  So when one of their markers accidently trips and falls, pass the ball quickly to the free player and go for goal.

There needs to be a sense of determination, but not absolute panic when your team needs a goal.  So don’t rush through attacks and loose balls from sloppy play, but do have a direct approach and attack their goal.  You need to score the goal and if you are successful, you will enjoy one of the greatest celebrations possible.



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