The Daily Racing Form-DRF Bets Advances to Semi-Finals
The final game of bracket play in the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship saw The Daily Racing Form-DRF Bets (DRF) defeat Flexjet 14-11 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, to remain undefeated and advance directly to the semi-finals, where they will await the winners of Sunday’s quarter-final games.
Using an effective open play attack, led by seven field goals from Hilario Ulloa, DRF was able to build a lead early in the game, while keeping Flexjet from scoring a field goal until the fifth chukka. Yet Flexjet was able to keep the game close as they generated their offense from the penalty line, amassing 11 penalty shots, of which they were able to convert nine in a combined shooting effort from Gonzalito and Nico Pieres. Despite their foul troubles in the game, DRF were able to capitalize at a rate of 71% on 17 shots from the field in a strong offensive performance that resulted in the 14-11 victory.
The opening chukka of the game was a preview for the following five chukkas as DRF heavily outshot Flexjet, with Mariano and Agustin Obregon leading the way offensively scoring two goals and one goal respectively. Flexjet’s Nico Pieres opened the scoring for Flexjet with a penalty conversion but the inability of Flexjet to score from the field became a factor in the game. The pace of play slowed in the remainder of the first half as the two teams combined for 12 fouls in the second and third chukkas alone. While Flexjet converted five of their seven penalty attempts, DRF continued to create scoring opportunities in open play, with 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa making his presence felt by scoring five goals before the end of the half to give DRF the 10-6 lead.
The attack of Flexjet continued to push downfield to begin the second half but for the fourth consecutive chukka, they were unable to score from the field. Gonzalito Pieres converted his fifth penalty shot of the game but DRF extended their lead to six, as Hilario Ulloa took control of the game, converting both of his shot attempts and lone penalty attempt to bring his total to eight goals. In need of quick offense, Flexjet finally broke through in the fifth chukka, holding DRF off the scoresheet and scoring two goals from the field, one each from Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade to cut the deficit to three goals. Scoring nine goals from the penalty line wasn’t enough for Flexjet to be competitive in the game as they ran into a DRF team that put forth an impressive offensive showing, finishing with 14 goals. The win for DRF advances them directly to the semi-finals to join Valiente, while the quarter-finals are set for Sunday with Audi squaring off against Flexjet and Colorado facing U.S. Polo Assn.