USA in FIP World Polo Championship game for the first time since 1989

2015-FIP-team-USA-2-300x200The United States (Remy Muller, Jesse Bray, Felipe Viana and Patrick Uretz) beat England (George Pearson, Jack Hyde, William Emerson and Pete Webb) 15-9 in the semifinal of the 10th FIP World Polo Championship this afternoon at the Club de Polo y Equitación San Cristóbal in Santiago, Chile.
Riding into the match with a perfect 2-0 record and wins over Brazil and Argentina, the US team took control of the game from the opening throw-in. Felipe Viana scored the first goal of the game followed by a 60-yard penalty conversion from Jesse Bray that had the US up 2-0. An aggressive attack kept England on their heels for much of the opening chukker, with Patrick Uretz scoring the final goal of the game for a 3-0 first chukker.
Remy Muller opened the scoring in the second chukker with his first goal of the game, 4-0, when the English offense stirred. A goal from the field from Jack Hyde was answered by consecutive goals from Bray. The first came on the end of a long shot on goal from Uretz, with Bray tapping it in for the 5-1 lead. His second goal of the chukker was an impressive individual that saw him carry the ball from midfield half the length of the field for a goal, 6-1. Bray topped it all off with a 30-yad penalty goal that had the USA leading by six goals, 7-1.
England came alive at the start of the third chukker. Pete Webb scored the first goal of the period, 7-2with Hyde scoring his second goal of the day midway through the chukker, 7-3. Viana and Uretz each scored a goal to end the first half with the United States on top of a 9-3 halftime score.
Bray scored the first goal of the second half as the US team stretched their lead to seven goals, 10-3, before England finally got something going. William Emerson scored a goal from the field and added a 30-yard penalty goal. At the end of the fourth chukker the USA remained firmly in the lead, 10-5.
Fifth chukker goals from Bray (30-yard penalty conversion) and Viana had England trailing by seven goals, 12-5. George Pearson converted a Safety (60-yard penalty shot) for a goal, with Bray closing out the chukker with his seventh goal of the game for a seven goal advantage, 13-6.
Emerson and Viana traded goals in the sixth, 14-7. Webb converted a 40-yard penalty shot for a goal, 14-8, that was followed by a goal from the field from Muller, 15-8. Webb’s second penalty goal of the chukker was the final score in a one-sided 15-9 romp.
Bray led all scoring with seven goals (three on penalty conversions). Viana added four goals with Muller and Uretz scoring two goals apiece for the win. Emerson and Webb scored three goals each. Hyde was credited with two goals and Pearson added a goal in a losing effort.
For the first time in 26 years a US team would be playing in the final of the FIP World Polo Championship with an opportunity to replicate the championship win by the 1989 American team that won the cup in Berlin in 1989.
“It was a very humbling experience,” said John Wigdahl, a member of that 1989 team. “To be playing for your country on a world-wide setting is an experience I could never forget.”
The 1989 United States team beat England in the final for the country’s only World Polo Championship title.
“They’re a talented team for sure,” added Wigdahl. “I had the opportunity to see them
play at Grand Champions this year and feel that they are the team that can bring the
title home.”

“I think that the USPA did the right thing,” said American 8-goaler Julio Arellano, who
was also a member of that 1989 team. Having them practice and play together in 14-18
goal polo for months before going down there was the key to their success.”
Wigdahl agreed with Arellano and gave kudos to both the USPA and Melissa Ganzi, the
president of the Grand Champions Polo Club where the team practiced, trained and
competed from last fall through the first two and-a-half months of the 2015 season.

“I hope the USPA learned something from their approach to this year’s FIP tournament
and continue to support talented young and coming players.

The team is scheduled to face Chile (Mario Silva, Ignacio Vial, Felipe Vercellino
and José Miguel Pereira), an 11-10 winner over Brazil in the day’s second semifinal.
Neither the USA nor Chile suffered a loss in the competition this year and both will be
looking to end the FIP World Polo Championship match on Wednesday the same way.