The 111th U.S. Open continues at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach.
FLEXJET VS ALEGRIA – For the benefit of Balladeer’s Blog readers who have told me they prefer non-corporate names for the teams Flexjet is unofficially known here as the Aviators and Alegria – the defending U.S. Open champions – are known as the Cantinas.
In the 1st Chukker of the game Alegria got off to a quick start as Hilario Ulloa and Sterling Giannico slammed in goals from the field for a 2-0 advantage. Flexjet got on the board when Miguel Novillo Astrada scored on a 30 yard penalty shot but Julian Mannix of the Cantinas nailed a goal to give his team a 3-1 lead at the end of the 1st.
The 2nd Chukker was all Alegria as goals from Mariano Aguerre and Sterling Giannico made it a 6-1 game. The Cantinas’ 3rd goal of the Chukker came on a Penalty One (a foul so severe a goal is awarded without a penalty shot even being taken) as the Aviators were losing their cool.
Flexjet did respond in Chukker number 3, shutting out the Cantinas and notching a trio of goals of their own. Miguel Astrada scored 2 and Nic Roldan got his 1st of the game as the Aviators pulled to within 6-4 going into Halftime.
Defense was the name of the game in the 5th Chukker as the two teams exchanged just a few goals. Nic Roldan of the Aviators tied the score at 7-7 but eventually Julian Mannix again put the Cantinas out in front 8-7 with another goal. Magoo Laprida added his first goal of the game to knot things back up at 8-8. (“Oh, Magoo, you’ve done it AGAIN!” … had to be said.)
In the 6th Chukker, Astrada gave Flexjet its first lead of the day at 9-8 but Alegria’s Hilario Ulloa scored the next 2 goals, putting the Cantinas back in the lead by a score of 10-9. With just 3 seconds left in Regulation Miguel Astrada knocked in another goal for the Aviators, making it a 10-10 tie and forcing a Sudden Death Overtime Chukker.
In that 7th Chukker both teams excelled at defensive play and it wasn’t until 4 minutes in that Nic Roldan notched the Golden Goal for an 11-10 Flexjet victory.
The 1st Chukker of this match was full of sound and fury signifying nothing as the two teams moved the ball around the grounds at a furious pace but only scored 1 goal apiece. Agustin Gross whacked in a score for Lechuza Caracas and Marc Ganzi replied for Audi making it a 1-1 game to end the opening sextant.
Chukker number 2 saw more seesawing. Gonzalito Pieres gave the Bavarians a 2-1 lead with a 30 yard penalty shot, then the White Owls’ Pieres – Nico – replied with a goal to make it a 2-2 game. Gonzalito Pieres countered that by giving Audi a 3-2 advantage but Garcia Grossi put the ball between the uprights for a 3-3 tie to end the 2nd.
Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade made it 4-3 and then 5-3 for the Bavarians in the 3rd Chukker, followed by Juan Martin Nero of the White Owls slamming in 2 goals in a row for a 5-5 tie. His teammate Nico Pieres followed that up by giving Lechuza Caracas a 6-5 lead going into Halftime.
In the 4th Chukker Rodrigo Andrade made it a 6-6 tie with a goal for Audi, then notched another one for a 7-6 Bavarian lead. For the White Owls Victor Vargas scored with just 45 seconds left in the Chukker knotting things up again at 7-7.
Chukker number 5 was all Audi. They shut out Lechuza Caracas while Gonzalito Pieres swatted in a 60 yard penalty shot (8-7) and then a coast-to- coast goal from the field for a 9-7 edge. Next Marc Ganzi scored his 2nd goal of the game for a 10-7 lead for the Bavarians.
The 6th Chukker was a clinic from the Bavarians in how to play aggressive defense and use blocked shots, backhanders and run-offs to work the clock. Neither team scored again in this last Chukker, so Audi won the game 10-7.
FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S QUICK PRIMER ON POLO CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2015/03/23/polo-is-joining-balladeers-blogs-sports-coverage/
* BRING BACK POLO AS AN OLYMPIC EVENT! *