Balladeer’s Blog continues its coverage of the world’s OLDEST team sport. FOR MY PRIMER ON POLO CLICK HERE The 115th U.S. Open rolled along with its Semifinal clashes now in the books.
FIRST SEMIFINAL – DAILY RACING FORM VERSUS THE U.S. POLO ASSOCIATION: “Complacency” was the byword of one of the oddest Semifinal matches in U.S. Open history. First up Daily Racing Form – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Stat-Hounds – faced the United States Polo Association – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Association (Thank you to Jim Rome).
The Stat-Hounds’ biggest problem through Chukkers One and Two was staying awake. They confounded and kicked around the hapless, outclassed Association so thoroughly that the two opening Chukkers ended with Daily Racing Form on top 3-0 and 6-0 respectively.
In Chukker Number Three USPA showed signs of emerging from their collective coma by actually swatting in a Goal for themselves. Going into Halftime the Stat-Hounds led the Match by a count of EIGHT Goals to ONE!
Chukker Number Four saw the Association trying to capitalize on a seemingly complacent DRF team. USPA put 3 Goals between the Uprights compared to just 1 from the Stat-Hounds, whose lead had now been cut to 9-4.
In the penultimate Fifth Chukker, DRF’s squandered opportunities loomed large as the Association moved ever closer. USPA outscored the Stat-Hounds 3 Goals to 2 in this Chukker, trailing by just 11-7 headed into the final sextant.
The Sixth Chukker found DRF expertly eating clock with long roll-offs and masterful manipulation of the ball with their mallets. The Stat-Hounds were shut out by the Association but they strategically robbed their opponents of several precious minutes of play-clock. In the end DRF triumphed 11-8.
Mariano Obregon led the Stat-Hounds with 5 Goals.
SECOND SEMIFINAL – VALIENTE VERSUS FLEXJET: Valiente – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Valiants – are not only the Defending Champions of the U.S. Open but are also trying for a second year in a row of winning America’s TRIPLE CROWN OF POLO by winning another Open. Their opponents were Melissa Ganzi’s foursome from Flexjet – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Aviators.
The opening Chukker set the tone for the rest of this Match, in which “Slaughter” was the operative word just as “Complacency” was for the First Semifinal. With 1 Chukker in the books Valiente led Flexjet 4-1.
Chukker Two and Chukker Three saw the Valiants mercilessly thrash the Aviators. They expanded their lead to 7-2 to end the 2nd sextant and 10-2 by Halftime.
The Fourth Chukker filled Flexjet fans with a certain amount of hope as they climbed out of their offensive funk to thwack in 3 Goals. Unfortunately Valiente managed a pair of their own so the Aviators had only pulled to within 12-5.
Up next the Valiants had the kind of Fifth Chukker that Flexjet needed, knocking FIVE Goals between the Uprights. The sagging Aviators barely mustered 1 Goal of their own, so Valiente appeared unbeatable with their new 17-6 advantage.
Chukker Number Six was a study in foregone conclusions. The Valiants weren’t interested in scoring and used every possession to milk the clock as much as possible. Flexjet gamely managed 3 Goals but obviously Valiente prevailed. The final score was SEVENTEEN to NINE.
Facundo Pieres led the victors, scoring an unbelievable ELEVEN of their 17 Goals.
IT WILL BE VALIENTE DEFENDING THEIR U.S. OPEN TITLE AND TRYING FOR BACK TO BACK TRIPLE CROWNS AS THEY BATTLE DRF ON SUNDAY!