Valiente Continues Undefeated Run with Opening Win in USPA Gold Cup
The first Sunday feature game of the 2018 USPA Gold Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach saw Valiente defeat Flexjet 11-8 in a closely contested game that was within one goal until minutes left in the game.
Provided with their toughest contest so far, Valiente found themselves trailing by two early in the game as the trio of Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito and Nico Pieres for Flexjet were effective on the attack. Tasked with slowing down the 10-goal duo from Valiente, Andrade displayed a strong defensive performance to disrupt the offensive efforts of Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres, but Valiente found their stride in the second half, utilizing a balanced offense with all players contributing at least one goal each. The additional offensive support from Tommy Beresford along with Gillian Johnston, replacing Bob Jornayvaz, was ultimately the difference in an open flowing, hardly fought game.
After winning the 20-goal Iglehart Cup with Pilot, Gonzalito Pieres made his impact felt in 26-goal play, scoring two goals through the first two chukkas to give Flexjet the 4-2 lead. Converting just two of their first seven shot attempts, Valiente’s inaccuracy kept them from closing the deficit as they found themselves trailing against an organized Flexjet team. Goals from Melissa Ganzi and Nico Pieres in the third chukka maintained their lead as they took a two-goal advantage into half time, posing a threat to Valiente’s undefeated run through 26-goal play. The second half displayed the prowess of Facundo Pieres and Cambiaso as they organized their team, playing a dominant fourth chukka that saw them score one goal each and hold Flexjet to zero shots on goal. Now tied with two chukkas remaining, the outcome came down to each team’s execution as Valiente utilized the pass to create high scoring chances to convert five of their final seven shot attempts. Meanwhile, Flexjet struggled late in the game to convert their scoring opportunities, making just one of their final six shot attempts. A late goal from Gillian Johnston, her third goal of the game sealed the 11-8 victory for Valiente in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.
Earlier in the day, La Indiana defeated Prestige Worldwide 11-8, in their first games of the 2018 Carlos Gracida Cup, behind the offensive display of Victorino Ruiz Jorba and Jeff Hall, who scored five goals each. An end-to-end game, La Indiana was held scoreless in the opening chukka but grabbed hold of the game in the second and third chukkas, outscoring Prestige Worldwide 7-1 to take a five goal lead into halftime. Despite converting just three of their six penalty attempts in the game, the 11 fouls from Prestige Worldwide in the game provided La Indiana with the possession and field advantage that created numerous scoring opportunities in the game. Prestige Worldwide made a push to begin the second half, reducing the deficit to two by the end of the fifth chukka with Miguel Novillo Astrada scoring four goals in those two chukkas. Ultimately, the deficit from the first half was too large to overcome as La Indiana secured the victory in the final chukka with Jorba adding a goal from the penalty line and the field to finish the 11-8 victory.