Round Two of USPA Gold Cup®
The second consecutive day of three games in the USPA Gold Cup® at the International Polo Club Palm Beach featured three dominant wins beginning with Daily Racing Form defeating SD Farms 13-7. A defensive battle broke out in the second game with Aspen claiming the 8-3 victory, while Pilot convincingly beat Old Hickory Bourbon 18-9.
A complete team effort from Daily Racing Form overwhelmed SD Farms with a dynamic attack that had all four players contributing on the scoresheet. The SD Farms defence struggled to contain the passing of Daily Racing Form in a fast, intense game. Holding a marginal one-goal lead after the first chukker, Daily Racing Form exploded for four goals in the second chukker, behind Agustin Obregon’s 2nd and 3rd penalty goals of the game, while also keeping SD Farms off the scoresheet to build a five-goal lead. SD Farms reduced the deficit by one before the end of the half, but Daily Racing Form remained in control, efficiently controlling possession.
SD Farms attempted to fight their way back, led by Peco Polledo who produced a strong fourth chukka with two goals, but it was the inability of SD Farms to convert around goal that became a factor. Daily Racing Form maintained their lead through five chukkers, until a dominant sixth chukker sealed the victory. In what was the story throughout the game, Daily Racing Form had three players score one goal and have one assist each in the last chukker, leaving SD Farms unable to cover all angles defensively in the 13-7 defeat.
In an expected offensive match-up, the second game of the day produced a defensive battle with just 11 goals combined between Aspen and Tonkawa. A fast, clean game resulted in plenty of chances for both teams, but Tonkawa’s 21% shooting from the field accounted for the loss. Polito Pieres opened the scoring for Aspen with the first tow goals of the game, with Tonkawa slow to find their footing. A goal from Agustin Merlos in the second chukker was the only offense Tonkawa generated in the first half allowing Aspen to grab a 4-1 lead after Pieres’ third goal.
Searching for increased offense, Merlos stepped up to score his second goal of the game, but their offense quickly sputtered as shots at goal continued to miss wide. After Stewart Armstrong’s first goal of the game, Pieres added two more goals, bringing his total to five in the game, extending Aspen’s lead to five. The lack of scoring touch was troubling for Tonkawa as frustration grew in a fifth chukker where they converted just 1 of their 5 attempts. Finishing the game 3 for 14 from the field and 0 for 1 from the penalty line, Tonkawa was unable to keep up with Aspen, despite a strong defensive effort that held their opponents to just 8 goals.
The final game of the day displayed the firepower of Pilot in a dominating victory over Old Hickory Bourbon. Improving to a perfect 6-0 on the season, Pilot constantly generated breakaways using a combination of passing and controlling the throw-in line in to keep the ball away from Old Hickory Bourbon. The first chukker of the game brought excitement to the field with Old Hickory Bourbon coming out firing and challenging Pilot all over the field. Jason Crowder was a force for Old Hickory Bourbon, scoring an impressive four goals in the first seven minutes, giving his team the 5-2 lead. The remainder of the first half was taken over by Facundo Pieres who was relentless on the attack, finishing with eight goals in the first three chukkers to give Pilot the 10-7 advantage.
The second half saw Pilot run away with the game, displaying a potent offense at its best. Facundo Pieres stayed back, playing a distributor role, while Matias Gonzalez frustrated opponents with a variety of steals to set up runs to goal. A goal each from Will Johnston and Crowder was the only offense Old Hickory Bourbon produced in the final three chukkers, while Pilot continued to score at a frantic rate. Curtis Pilot scored his first goal of the season to highlight Pilot’s dominant 18-9 victory.