The conclusion of the 2018 Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach featured Valiente against GSA in a closely fought game that had the potential for either team to come out victorious. Overcoming early penalty shooting woes, Valiente was able to take advantage of GSA’s fouls in the second half, converting their three attempts to take hold of the game and complete the 8-6 victory; claiming the second 20-goal tournament of the high goal season.
Behind efficient shooting and a balanced offensive attack for GSA that was crucial in their run to the final, they were able to build an early 4-3 lead in the game, with all four GSA players scoring one goal each. Valiente’s Adolfo Cambiaso countered GSA in the second half, scoring the first four Valiente goals behind individual attacks that were created by the relentless blocking work from his teammates. The pressure placed on the GSA defence from runs made by Cambiaso and Santi Torres resulted in foul trouble late in the game as Valiente turned a one-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage by the end of the fifth chukka. GSA was unable to mount a comeback for the third straight game, as Valiente committed just one foul the entire game, leaving Mariano Gonzalez off the penalty line and keeping the ball in open play where Valiente thrived on their way to victory.
The outcome of the first half was a product of opportunities as GSA shot an accurate 4 for 7 from the field, while Valiente created more scoring chances from both the penalty line and the field, but were unable to convert at a high rate, shooting 3 for 9 from the field and a surprising 0 for 4 from the penalty line. With Gonzalez having zero penalty shots in the opening half, GSA was effective using the duo of Gonzalez and Magrini on ball while youngsters Henry Porter and Dylan Rossiter worked hard downfield. The performance of GSA offensively and defensively was notable in the first half, yet the ability of Cambiaso to break away for solo runs kept Valiente in the closely matched game.
The ability of Valiente to create scoring chances began to pay off in the second half as the off-ball work from the likes of Bob Jornayvaz, Bautista Panelo and Santi Torres drove the Valiente attack. Led by two goals from Cambiaso, one from the field and one from the penalty line, Valiente used a 2-0 fourth chukka to take the lead from GSA for the first time since the opening chukka. With the two teams often separated by just one goal throughout the game, a fifth chukka that saw four fouls from GSA, provided Cambiaso with two penalty goals, and the ability to execute their set plays and gain valuable field position. After accurate shooting in the opening half, GSA converted just one of their first four shot attempts in the second half, as Valiente extended their lead to 7-5 with one chukka remaining.
Holding a two-goal lead, Valiente played a strong defensive sixth chukka, with Cambiaso protecting the back of the game, and intercepting GSA’s passing attack late, limiting their chances to tie the game. A goal from GSA’s Dylan Rossiter in the sixth chukka wasn’t enough as Santi Torres’ first goal of the game sealed the victory for his team. Behind a six-goal performance from Cambiaso, Valiente was able to withstand the balanced GSA attack and finish with the 8-6 victory to claim the 2018 Ylvisaker Cup.