Valiente stages mercurial second half comeback in 12-7 US Open win
Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso) needs a strong second half to beat Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Nico Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Nico Espain) 12-7 in a rare Monday afternoon game at the International Polo Club in the opening round of the 2014 Maserati US Open.
Disciplined defense governed the opening chukker with neither team able to score despite each having the opportunity for a makeable penalty shot. Valiente missed a 60-yarder while Lechuza Caracas miscued on a 40-yard penalty shot.
Lechuza Caracas took the early lead on a pair of penalty goals from Nico Pieres with the first coming in the opening 30 seconds of play. Pieres added his second with just 1:34 on the clock while a resolute Lechuza Caracas defense held Valiente scoreless for the second consecutive chukker, 2-0.
A minute into the third period Pieres scored a goal from the field to put Lechuza Caracas on top, 3-0. Santi Torres finally got Valiente on the scoreboard at the 4:02 mark, but Pieres added two more penalty conversions for a commanding 5-1 halftime lead.
Pieres stretched the Lechuza Caracas lead to five goals, 6-1, in the fourth on a well-executed 90 yard shot through the Valiente goalposts, but that was when the momentum started to shift. Torres added two more goals from the field and Adolfo Cambiaso cut the Lechuza Caracas lead to just two goals, 6-4, with his first goal of the game.
There was no let-up by the Valiente foursome as Cambiaso scored consecutive goals to tie the game at 6-6. Torres added his fourth score of the game, 7-6, and Caset made it a two goal Valiente lead by converting a 60-yard Safety to end the chukker up, 8-6.
Pieres scored his seventh goal of the game in the sixth, but that was all the offense Lechuza Caracas could muster. Three goals from Caset (one on a penalty conversion) and a goal from Cambiaso gave the win to Valiente, 12-7.
Pieres led all scoring with seven goals (five on penalty shots. Valiente presented a more balanced attack with Torres, Caset and Cambiaso each scoring four times for the victory.
Maserati US Open play continues on Tuesday with a noon match between Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Eduardo Astrada, Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada) and Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano and Facundo Obregon). A second afternoon contest will feature Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalo Del Tour) and Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa).