The second day of quarterfinal play in the 2020 USPA Gold Cup on Sunday, March 15 featured two exciting matches as La Indiana narrowly defeated Dutta Corp 11-10, while Gauntlet of Polo hopefuls Las Monjitas continued their run, defeating Patagones 12-10 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Unfortunately, they were the final Gold Cup matches for a while now that the United States Polo Association has temporarily suspended the season.
La Indiana vs. Dutta Corp
A foul-ridden match between Dutta Corp and La Indiana saw just six of the 21 goals scored from the field, with Polito Pieres going head-to-head against Facundo and Mariano Obregon from the penalty line. In a game decided by the narrowest of margins, including a missed penalty attempt on the last play of the game, La Indiana escaped with the victory behind strong penalty shooting from Pieres, while three missed penalties for Dutta Corp ultimately proved to be the difference in the 11-10 defeat.
Two fouls in quick succession to begin the game awarded a penalty goal to each team, leaving the two teams tied until Polito Pieres took advantage of a knock-in to give La Indiana the 2-1 lead after the opening chukker. Despite not scoring a field goal in the first two chukkers, Dutta Corp kept pace with La Indiana, scoring two penalty goals off the mallet of Facundo Obregon. In a chukker with eight fouls, La Indiana responded with two penalty goals of their own to maintain the slim one-goal lead. Matching each other stride for stride, La Indiana and Dutta Corp continued to trade goals, with Michael Bickford and Santiago Gomez Romero contributing from the field to hold a 6-5 advantage at halftime.
The start-and-stop pace carried into the second half, with La Indiana taking advantage of the extra opportunities from the penalty line. Finishing with accuracy, Polito Pieres pushed La Indiana’s offense forward, converting all four penalty attempts in the second half. Improved discipline from La Indiana limited Dutta Corp’s chances, forcing them to generate offense from the field with a balanced attack that saw one goal each from all four players. Holding a two-goal lead entering the final chukker, a penalty 3 conversion for Pieres seemed to secure the victory, but Dutta Corp stormed back. Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Facundo Obregon brought Dutta Corp back within one as they received a foul in the final seconds. On a penalty 4 attempt to send the game into overtime, Mariano Obregon hit it wide, giving La Indiana the exciting 11-10 victory and the third spot in the semifinals.
Las Monjitas vs. Patagones
With one spot remaining in the semifinals, Las Monjitas and Patagones battled to advance on he U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1. A strong start from Las Monjitas from both the field and the penalty line gave them a commanding advantage, with Bautista Panelo, playing in place of the injured Mackenzie Weisz, making a significant impact with four goals in the game. A late run for a Patagones team that saw all four players score at least two goals wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit, falling 12-10 to Las Monjitas.
Following up a shot off the post, Panelo opened the scoring for Las Monjitas to give them the early lead. A fast-paced first chukker saw end-to-end action as the teams traded goals, finished by a field goal from David Stirling to give Las Monjitas the slim 3-2 lead.
A dominant second chukker saw Las Monjitas get a stronghold on the game, with Francisco Elizalde and David Stirling effectively using their defense and quick passing to keep Patagones pinned in their own half. A 3-0 chukker in favor of Las Monjitas gave them the 6-2 lead, but they weren’t done there, finishing a run of five unanswered goals on a penalty 2 conversion from Stirling to begin the third chukker. Back-to-back goals from Elizalde to finish the half highlighted Las Monjitas’ dominant play to lead Patagones 9-3 at halftime.
Focused on chipping away at the lead, Patagones found its footing in the fourth chukker, beginning a run of four goals, led by the play of Gonzalo Avendano. Carrying their stretch into the fifth chukker, Patagones brought the deficit to just two goals, leaving Las Monjitas’ lead in doubt. A goal from Elizalde to finish the fifth chukker proved to be crucial for Las Monjitas, pushing its lead back to three and providing breathing room entering the final chukker. Highlighting his impact on the game, Panelo secured the victory on his fourth goal, sending Las Monjitas into the semifinals with the 12-10 win.
USPA Suspends All Polo Due To Ongoing COVID-19 Concerns
Due to rising health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to cease all gatherings of more than 10 people, the United States Polo Association (USPA) has made the difficult decision to suspend all USPA tournaments and events, including the ongoing Gauntlet of Polo and the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship for at least the next two weeks.
The USPA thanks polo fans for their patience and understanding as the association prioritizes the health and safety of players, teams and their organizations, umpires, partners, staff and everyone who helps put on polo events. The USPA will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify the polo community if a different course of action is deemed necessary. For more updates, visit www.uspolo.org. For updates regarding the International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.