The first quarterfinalists were determined in the 2020 USPA Gold Cup® after two exciting games impacted the rankings in Bracket I and III/IV. Daily Racing Form captured a thrilling 13-12 overtime victory over Postage Stamp Farm, while Patagones secured their place with a narrow 10-9 victory over Cessna at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The final group game in Bracket I between Daily Racing Form and Postage Stamp Farm required overtime, with quarterfinal implications on the line. Mounting a second half comeback from the penalty line, Daily Racing Form converted 8 of their 11 penalty attempts to overcome a strong first half from Postage Stamp Farm. Led by the duo of Jared Zenni and Agustin Obregon, who combined for 8 goals, Daily Racing Form captured their first victory in the Gauntlet of Polo® to keep their chances alive.
A quick start from Postage Stamp Farm featured a quick passing attack that resulted in two goals from Lerin Zubiaurre along with one goal from Peke Gonzalez to build an early 3-1 lead. Foul trouble kept Postage Stamp Farm from extending their lead further, conceding two penalty goals to Agustin Obregon. Improving their discipline, Postage Stamp Farm controlled possession to produce a run of four unanswered goals into the third chukker, converting five of their first six shots in an efficient attack. All four players found the scoresheet, including Felipe Tro, playing in place of Annabelle Gundlach to hold a four-goal lead. Tommy Collingwood scored Daily Racing Form’s only field goal of the first half, but they remained trailing by four goals heading into halftime.
Continuing to pace their offense from the penalty line, Daily Racing Form displayed an organized defense that kept Postage Stamp Farm off the scoreboard in the fourth chukker. A penalty 2 conversion from Collingwood along with a penalty 1 goal awarded to Costi Caset, Daily Racing Form pulled within one goal. An injury filled fifth chukker saw multiple stoppages that slowed Daily Racing Form’s momentum and forced Felipe Tro from the game due to injury, replaced by Kylie Sheehan. Zubiaurre pushed Postage Stamp Farm’s lead back to two at the end of the chukker, leaving Daily Racing Form in need of offense late in the game. Coming through in a pressure-filled final chukker, Zenni converted three penalty goals, including one in the final 30 seconds to send the game into overtime. Minutes into overtime, Agustin Obregon broke free for a breakaway, finishing the run to complete the comeback and the thrilling 13-12 victory.
The second game of the day featured two different Patagones teams, as they found themselves facing a large deficit early in the game but reorganized and controlled the final four chukkers to escape with the narrow victory. Inaccurate 28% shooting from Cessna prevented them from continuing their strong play in the opening two chukkers, but the fast-pace suited Patagones, who received three goals each from Tomas Garcia del Rio, Santiago Toccalino and Geronimo Obregon in the victory.
After Toccalino opened the scoring, Cessna produced a relentless offense that kept Patagones pinned in their own half. Winning six of the first eight throw-ins, Cessna maintained possession and were led by four goals from Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario to build a commanding 7-1 lead. Seemingly in full control of the game, Cessna’s offense slowed and Patagones jumped on loose balls to finish the half and string together a run of goals to pull themselves back into the game. Four straight goals from Obregon and Toccalino on perfect 4 for 4 shooting, quickly reduced their six-goal deficit to just two at halftime, trailing 7-5.
With a revitalized offense, Patagones carried their momentum into the second half as Toccalino protected the counterattack defensively, allowing Garcia del Rio to move forward in the game. Scoring back-to-back goals, Patagones tied the score at 7-7, completing a run of six straight goals beginning in the third chukker. Struggling to find offense from the field, Cessna finally found the scoreboard on a penalty 2 conversion from Ferrario but couldn’t slow the Patagones attack that produced five more shots at goal. Gonzalo Avendano and Obregon gave Patagones the slim one-goal lead entering the final chukker with the win secured on a penalty 4 conversion from Garcia del Rio. The victory secured Patagones’ spot in the quarter-finals, with the final day of group play on Tuesday at IPC.