Team Profile: Patagones Polo
One of the two remaining undefeated teams left in the 2020 Ylvisaker Cup, Patagones has impressed on the fields of the International Polo Club Palm Beach with victories over Stable Door Polo and Pilot. An exciting line-up featuring young brother Joaquin and Benjamin Avendano at the front, with Santi Wluff and Tomas Garcia del Rio at the back, Patagones has played in every 18-goal tournament this season, showcasing their depth of horsepower. This is further evident by their first time entering the Gauntlet of Polo, committing to a full season of play among the best players of the world.
Their immediate focus is on Sunday’s game against Daily Racing Form where they look to improve to 3-0 and hold up the top seed in next week’s semi-finals. The thrilling overtime victory over Pilot demonstrated Patagone’s balanced team attack, with a significant four-goal contribution from Joaquin Avendano. Leading the team in field goals through the Ylvisaker Cup with six, Joaquin Avendano has been a standout player for Patagones, finding the space to breakaway for uncontested runs to goal and finish with accuracy, converting all six of his shot attempts.
Following in the #2 position holding a three-goal handicap, Benjamin Avendano has been active on both sides of the ball, constantly applying pressure defensively to create turnovers for Patagones. Often tasked with marking higher-rates players, Avendano has been effective at containing his opponent as part of a strong Patagones defense that has only allowed 8.0 goals per game, best in the Ylvisaker Cup. On the offensive end, Avendano has scored twice through two games, but has been impactful at moving the ball downfield with speed and creating the additional scoring chances needed for Patagones.
The steady presence on Patagones, Santi Wulff has played exceptionally well in the middle of the field, having a high IQ to find the Avendano brothers with a pass, or rotate to the back of the game to allow Garcia del Rio to run forward. With a team low three shots on goal, Wulff influences the game in other ways including a high interception rate that keeps the possession with Patagones. Also contributing three assists, Wullf’s accurate passing has been crucial to the success of Patagones’ offense, including a perfect neckshot to send Joaquin Avendano on a breakaway to tie the game in the final seconds against Pilot.
Anchoring the team, Tomas Garcia del Rio has arguable been the player of the tournament so far, second behind Gonzalito Pieres in goals scored with 13. Accurate 8 for 10 shooting from the penalty line has allowed Patagones to take advantage of each misstep from their opponents, but Garcia del Rio is noticeable nearly everywhere on the field during open play. Of Patagones’ 23 goals in the Ylvisaker Cup, Garcia del Rio has directly been involved in 78% of them, tying for the tournament lead in assists with five. His combination of running with the ball and passing to goal has stretched the field for Patagones and allowed for the balanced attack that has seen all four players working seamlessly together.
Patagones plays their final game of bracket play on Sunday at 10am against Daily Racing Form, one win away from claiming the top seed in the semi-finals of the Ylvisaker Cup.