March 14, 2020
The first two semi-finalists were determined in the 2020 USPA Gold Cup® at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, beginning with Daily Racing Form scoring three late penalty attempts to capture the 10-9 victory over Santa Clara. Facing each other for the second time in the tournament, Pilot was victorious over Park Place, capturing the 12-8 victory to secure the second spot in the semi-finals.
An exciting first quarterfinal between Daily Racing Form and Santa Clara featured a back and forth game that saw Daily Racing Form thwart each Santa Clara attempt to take the lead. Producing more chances from the field, Santa Clara had their opportunities offensively but shot just 33% from the field. Jared Zenni led Daily Racing Form to the exciting victory behind six goals, two assists and accurate 4 for 5 penalty shooting to push his team into the semi-finals.
A quick opening chukker resulted in Daily Racing Form taking the two-goal lead on back-to-back field goals from Zenni, while Santa Clara missed both chances with a struggling offensive attack. Held off the scoreboard until the second chukker, Ignatius Du Plessis finally broke through for Santa Clara with a penalty 3 conversion, but a quick response by Zenni on a penalty conversion of his own restored the two-goal lead. After missing their first five shot attempts, Santa Clara found their footing to end the half, scoring three goals, two from the field to bring the game into a tie. Du Plessis and Luis Escobar provided the offense for Santa Clara, while Agustin Obregon’s first goal of the game left the game tied at 4-4.
Overcoming the push from Santa Clara, Daily Racing Form fought their way back into the lead behind a strong start to the second half. Utilizing the pass to create scoring chances, Obregon and Costi Caset provided consecutive goals for Daily Racing Form, while Santa Clara continued to fight their inconsistency around goal. An overwhelming fifth chukker for Santa Clara saw them record seven shots at goal, with Matias Magrini, Henry Porter and Du Plessis adding one goal each. Pinned in their own half, Daily Racing Form saw their lead evaporate, leaving the outcome to the final chukker. With eight fouls in the game prior to the sixth chukker, a foul ridden end to the game saw the teams combine for 11 fouls, in a stop and start finish. A penalty 1 awarded to Magrini gave Santa Clara the 9-8 lead, but after a penalty 2 tied the game, Zenni converted a penalty 3 in the final seconds to send Daily Racing Form into the semi-finals.
A rematch of each team’s opening game in the tournament, Pilot claimed the same result behind a dominant 8-1 run over the second, third and fourth chukkers. Committing eight fouls, Park Place conceded eight penalty attempts to Pilot compared to just four of their own, resulting in Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres combining for accurate 6 for 8 penalty shooting. Inaccurate shooting kept Park place from challenging Pilot, shooting just 26% from the field in the 12-8 defeat.
An exciting start to the game saw Park Place race out to an early lead on two field goals from Juan Britos and Joaquin Panelo, still playing in place of the injured Felipe Viana. The game changed instantly as Pilot relied on their 10-goal duo of Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres. Scoring three penalty attempts along with five field goals, the duo took advantage of each opportunity presented by Park Place, building their attack from their knock-ins. The 8-0 run in favor of Pilot turned the two-goal deficit into a commanding six-goal lead at halftime. During the stretch, Park Place missed all five of their shot attempts, leaving them in need of offense to mount a comeback against Pilot.
Joaquin Panelo broke through for a goal to begin the second half, giving Park Place some hope as they looked to close the deficit, but foul trouble continued to prevent the comeback, concdeding two more penalty goals in the fourth chukker resulting in a commanding 10-3 lead for Pilot with two chukkers remaining. Britos and Alfrdo Bigatti pressured Pilot in the fifth chukker, receiving a penalty 1 to reduce the lead to five, but Pilot effectively managed their lead in the final stages of the game. Gonzalito Pieres received a penalty 1 of his own to begin the final chukker, ending hopes of a Park Place comeback. Combining for all 12 of their team’s goals, Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres led Pilot into the semi-finals with the 12-8 victory.