Balladeer’s Blog continues its coverage of the world’s OLDEST team sport. FOR MY PRIMER ON POLO CLICK HERE
MATCH ONE: FLEXJET VS VALIENTE – Day Four of Polo’s U.S. Open began with this clash between the only two teams who remained undefeated in Pool Play. Namely Flexjet – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Aviators – and Valiente – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Valiants.
Flexjet is one of the two teams in this year’s Open which have a female member, in their case Melissa Ganzi. Valiente came into the Open having already won the first two titles in the American Triple Crown this year and need to win the tournament to complete the task.
FIRST CHUKKER – The Aviators accomplished the seemingly impossible task of shutting out the usually hot-out-of-the-gate Valiente team. Meanwhile, Flexjet’s Gonzalo Pieres scored a Goal from the field and another on a Penalty Shot from 30 yards out. Melissa Ganzi and her three teammates held a 2-0 lead.
SECOND CHUKKER – Fans of the Valiants were no doubt pleased to see their team’s Ace, Deuce and Chevy contribute 1 Goal each for their squad’s effort. The Aviators managed just 2 answering Goals themselves but still led the Match 4 Goals to 3.
THIRD CHUKKER – Flexjet continued keeping Valiente’s Diego Cavanagh very, very quiet. The Aviators swatted 3 Goals between the Uprights compared to the 1 scored by the faltering Valiants. Headed into Halftime, Flexjet was on top of Valiente by a count of 7-4.
FOURTH CHUKKER – Defense was the name of the game to start the 2nd Half. Neither team scored from the field and had to settle for exchanging Goals off of Penalty Shots. The Aviators lead stood at 8-5.
FIFTH CHUKKER – In this Chukker turnovers plagued Flexjet and Valiente happily capitalized off their miscues. The Valiants thwacked in 3 Goals while shutting out their opponents. The score was now 8-8 headed into the sixth and final Chukker.
SIXTH CHUKKER – The drama built as a 9-8 lead for the Aviators became a 9-9 tie after Valiente’s tying Goal with less than a minute to play. Once again Gonzalo Pieres was the saving grace for Flexjet, taking the final Toss-In all the way down the Grounds to score the winning Goal with time running out. The Aviators won the Match 10-9.
Gonzalo Pieres led the victors with 6 Goals.
MATCH TWO: AUDI VS COCA COLA – Audi – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Bavarians – features Marc Ganzi, Melissa’s spouse and the other half of the First Couple of Polo. Coca Cola – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Red Colossus – is led by Gillian Johnston, the other female Polo Player in this year’s U.S. Open.
FIRST CHUKKER – Audi was all business in this opening Chukker as their offensive intensity more than matched that of Coca Cola. The Bavarians emerged with a 3-2 lead.
SECOND CHUKKER – The Red Colossus struck back this time around, shutting out Audi while putting 3 Goals between the Uprights for themselves. Two of those were Penalty Shots swatted in by Julio Arellano. Coca Cola was now on top 5 Goals to 3.
THIRD CHUKKER – Marc Ganzi scored his 1st Goal of the Match in this Chukker, 1 of 2 managed by the Bavarians. The Red Colossus knocked through just 1 but still held a 6-5 advantage going into Halftime.
FOURTH CHUKKER – Audi dominated the sextant, thwacking in 3 Goals while still playing tough on defense. Coca Cola mustered 1 lone Goal and now trailed the Bavarians 8-7.
FIFTH CHUKKER – “Don’t make the German team angry,” as Basil Fawlty might have cautioned. Audi repeated their masterful performance of the previous Chukker but this time shut out the Red Colossus completely. With one to play the Bavarians led Coca Cola 11 Goals to 7.
SIXTH CHUKKER – Once again the now white-hot Audi team put 3 Goals between the columns. The sputtering Red Colossus replied just once with a Goal of their own. The Bavarians earned an authoritative 14-8 victory.
Marc Ganzi and Negro Novillo Astrada led Audi with 4 Goals each.
MATCH THREE: Day Four came to a close yesterday with this battle between Travieso – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Troubadors – and Orchard Hill – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Clubmen. Travieso is making their first ever U.S. Open appearance, while the Orchard Hill foursome are the Defending Open Champions from last year.
FIRST CHUKKER – The Troubadors and the Clubmen matched each other blow for blow and Goal for Goal to open the game. The score was knotted up at 2-2 as the First ended.
SECOND CHUKKER – The Travieso defense was practically smothering the Orchard Hill offense in this Chukker. On the other side of the ball the Troubadors notched a pair of Goals to grab a 4-2 lead.
THIRD CHUKKER – Travieso made the Polo world sit up and take notice as they shut out Orchard Hill in BACK TO BACK CHUKKERS. The Troubadors managed to put 1 between the Uprights and went into Halftime holding a 5-2 advantage.
FOURTH CHUKKER – The Clubmen came galloping out for the 2nd Half like a team possessed. The Defending Champions smacked through a trio of Goals while simultaneously limiting Travieso to just 1 Goal of their own. The Troubadors’ lead had been cut to 6-5.
FIFTH CHUKKER – In this clash of competing momentum Travieso’s foursome suddenly had the hot mallets again. The distribution of Goals was the exact opposite of the previous Chukker as the Troubadors extended their lead back out to 3. 9-6 in favor of Travieso was where things stood heading into the Sixth.
SIXTH CHUKKER – Orchard Hill needed to hold the Troubadors scoreless while chalking up at least 3 Goals of their own to send the Match into Overtime. They accomplished the first task but not the second. Travieso was shut out but gave up only 2 Goals to their opponents. The Troubadors held on to win by a score of 9-8.
Sebastian Merlos and Mariano Gonzalez led the scoring for Travieso with 4 Goals apiece.
This fourth day completed Pool Play. The U.S. Open resumes on Sunday. Flexjet and Valiente advance to the Semifinals so they get a Bye. Audi will take on Orchard Hill in the Noon game and Coca Cola will play Travieso in the 3 pm start. The winners will face the Aviators and the Valiants in the Semis.