Valiente Remain Undefeated with Victory over Audi
After wet conditions postponed the first game of the day, Valiente and Audi squared off in the lone match of the day in the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship, with Valiente defeating Audi 13-8 on Valiente Field #2.
Continuing their undefeated run through the 26-goal season, Valiente used effective 10 for 16 shooting and exceptional open play possession to overcome a poor set play performance that saw them lose 16 of 23 throw-ins and concede a goal from their own knock-in. Pressuring the Audi defense into committing too many fouls, Valiente was able to score one more goal than Audi in each of the first four chukkas to build a lead before securing the game in a dominant fifth chukka. While Audi was presented with their opportunities from the field in the game, the ability of Valiente to keep Audi off the penalty line proved to be a big factor in the 13-8 victory.
The opening chukka was evenly contested between both teams, with Audi’s Marc Ganzi and Polito Pieres scoring a goal each, while Valiente took advantage of two crucial Audi fouls, to take an early 3-2 lead. Audi was able to remain within reach throughout the rest of the first half as Valiente struggled with their set pieces, with two broken knock ins leading to a goal and a narrow miss from Audi. The active defensive work from Polito Pieres in executing steals and ride-offs caught the attention of the Valiente offense, but with three goals each by the end of the first half, Facundo Pieres and Adolfo Cambiaso continued to display their two-man dominance to provide Valiente with the 7-4 lead at halftime.
The second half saw a similar narrative with Facundo Pieres and Cambiaso scoring another goal each to push the lead to four. Despite winning the first seven throw-ins of the second half, any hope of an Audi comeback vanished in the fifth chukka as they were unable to capitalize on their set play dominance, committing unforced errors and continuing to find themselves in a defensive position. Cambiaso dominated the fifth chukka, moving up in the game to score two goals while Audi was kept off the scoresheet for the first time in the game. The discipline of Valiente was crucial throughout the second half as Audi received zero penalty attempts and were forced to match the skill of Valiente in open play. Trailing 12-5, Audi displayed an admirable effort in a three-goal sixth chukka, but Valiente had already secured the victory as an impressive seven goal performance from Cambiaso led the way in another convincing victory for a Valiente team that booked their place in the U.S. Open Polo Championship semi-finals.