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Gold Cup coverage-Sunday


Orchard Hill and Valiente 0-2 after second round of USPA Gold Cup play; Audi, Dubai and Lucchese, 2-0

By Alex Webbe

Two high-goal powerhouses, Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Facundo Pieres, Polito Pieres and Julián de Lusarreta) and Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santiago Chavanne, Diego Cavanagh and Tomas Garcia del Rio) suffered their second losses in as many starts, while Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Fred Mannix), Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Adolfo Cambiaso, Facundo Sola and Alejo Taranco) and Lucchese (John Muse, Guillermo Caset, Cristian Laprida and Nico Pieres) remain unbeaten at 2-0.

Lucchese got the ball rolling in a 10am contest on the Valiente polo grounds with White Birch (Peter Brant, Mariano Aguerre, Hilario Ulloa and Ezequiel Martínez Ferrario), playing them to a 9-9 tie om regulation time before scoring the winning goal in overtime for the 10-9 victory. The win was the second in their debut 26-goal season and their second overtime win as well.

White Birch came out strong in first chukker play, picking up goals from Hilario Ulloa (60-yard penalty conversion) and Mariano Aguerre while holding Lucchese scoreless. White Birch rode off the field with the initial 2-0 lead.

Second period action saw Lucchese 10-goaler Sapo Caset flex his muscles at the penalty line scoring from the 30 and 40-yard markers for goals. Caset added a goal from the field that found them holding a 3-2 advantage. Ulloa’s second goal of the game ended eh scoring in the chukker with the score al even at 3-3.

Both defenses tightened up in the third chukker. Nico Pieres gave the led back to Lucchese with his first goal of the day, 4-3. Aguerre countered with his second goal of the morning. At the end of the first half of play, the score was all even at 4-4.

Caset added three more goals in the fourth (two on penalty conversions) while Ulloa managed just a single goal for White Birch. With two chukkers remaining in regulation play, Lucchese held a two goal, 7-5 advantage.

Ulloa opened the scoring in the fifth chukker with a 60-yard penalty conversion and added a goal from the field to tie it at 7-7. Caset scored on a 30-yard penalty shot that gave them a narrow 8-7 lead going into the sixth.

Ulloa tie d the game at 8-8 with a 30-yard penalty conversion. Caset responded with a goal from the field that put Lucchese back into the lead, 9-8. Ezequiel Ferrario scoffed he final goal of the chukker, tying the game at 9-9 and forcing sudden-death overtime.

Lucchese 8-goaler Magoo Laprida scored his only goal of the day in the overtime chukker for the 10-9 victory.

Caset led all scoring with eight goals (five on penalty conversions). Pieres and Laprida added single goals for the win. Ulloa scored four of his team-high six goals from the field. Aguerre added two goals and Ferrario was credited with a goal in the loss.

The win kept Lucchese undefeated (2-0) while White Birch fell to 0-2.

Audi 9, Valiente 7

Audi moved a step closer to defending their 2015 USPA Gold Cup title by beating Valiente 9-7 in a game that they controlled from the opening chukker.

Valiente received one goal by handicap from the 26-goal Audi team but watched helplessly as Audi scored the first three goals of the chukker on a pair of penalty conversions from Gonzalito Pieres and a goal from the field from Brazilian 9-goaler Rodrigo Andrade. Tomas Garcia del Rio scored on a 40-yard penalty shot to end the chukker with Audi in front, 3-2.

Pieres extended the lead to 4-2 with a 60-yard penalty shot at 5:08 of the second chukker. Andrade added to the Audi lead two minutes later. The Audi defense held Valiente scoreless for the balance of the period and left the field with a three goal lead, 5-2.

Freddie Mannix scored his first goal of the day in the opening minute of the third period, 6-2. Valiente continued to have difficulty breeching the Audi defense, settling for a goal awarded to them on a Penalty 1. At the end of the first half it was Audi on top of a 6-3 score.

Active defenses on both sides of the ball kept the scoring to a minimum. Diego Cavanagh scored the first goal of the second half on a short penalty shot at the 5:06 mark, 6-4. Andrade countered with a goal from the field a minute later, 7-4. The two teams rode out the balance of the fourth chukker without another goal being scored and Audi continued to lead by three goals.

A fifth chukker Valiente rally saw del Rio score the first goal in the opening 40 seconds of play and add another goal on a penalty shot three minutes later to bring Valiente to within a goal of the lead, 7-6. Mannix answered with a goal from the field with just under two minutes on the clock and teammate Pieres gave Audi their three goal lead back by converting a 40-yard penalty shot to make it 9-6.

Valiente attempted to stir up some offense in the final chukker of play but the Audi defense was up to the challenge. Audi kept Valiente off of the scoreboard for the opening three minutes of the sixth period when del Rio scored a goal from the field, 9-7. The Audi defenders doubled their efforts and shut Valiente out for the balance of the game, claiming the 9-7 victory.

Pieres scored all four of his team-high goals on penalty conversions. Andrade scored three times from the field and Mannix added two goals for the win. Two of del Rio’s four goals came on penalty conversions. Cavanagh added a goal; the team received one goal by handicap and a goal on a Penalty 1.

The win boosted the Audi record to 2-0 while Valiente suffered their second loss of the tournament, leaving them winless at 0-2.

Dubai 10, Orchard Hill 7

Orchard Hill entered the field as one of the pre-tournament favorites. They had just won the 26-goal C. V. Whitney Cup and had appeared in all three 26-goal finals in 2015. The combination of 10-goalers Facundo Pieres and cousin Polito Pieres loomed large, but an earlier overtime loss to Lucchese proved them to be vulnerable, and Dubai was making their 26-goal debut with the talents of the Number 1 ranked player in the world, Adolfo Cambiaso.

The two teams felt one another out in the opening minutes of the first chukker with the game remaining scoreless for nearly six minutes. Facundo sola put the first goal on the scoreboard with 1:45 left in the chukker and added a 30-yard penalty shot for a goal with 31 seconds on the clock for the early 2-0 lead.

Orchard Hill continued to fumble with their offense into the second chukker while Dubai continued to press the attack. Dubai team captain Rashid Albwardy scored his first goal of the game 40 seconds into the second period, 3-0, and added another goal on a follow up of a run by Sola to make it 4-0. Alejo Taranco scored the final goal of the chukker as Orchard Hill suffered their second consecutive scoreless period. Dubai left the field with an impressive 5-0 lead after the first two periods of the game.

Julian de Lusarreta finally got Orchard Hill on the scoreboard at the 5:01 mark of the third chukker followed by a 100-yard run by Facundo Pieres that cut the Dubai lead to three goals, 5-2. Sola scored the final goal of the chukker on a 30-yard penalty conversion for a 6-2 halftime lead.

Orchard Hill continued to struggle with their offense going into the second half of play. Three minutes into the fourth chukker Facundo Pieres converted a 60-yard penalty shot for a goal, 6-3. Albwardy added his third goal of the game and the final goal of the fourth chukker for a 7-3 Dubai advantage. Facundo Pieres opened the scoring in the fifth period with a goal from the field at the 6:44 mark. Cambiaso scored the final three goals of the chukker (two on 60-yad penalty shots) that had Dubai in front by six goals, 10-4.

Orchard Hill scored the final three goals of the match in sixth chukker action. Facundo Pieres scored once from the field and once on a 30-yard penalty shot. De Lusarreta added a goal from the field as Dubai celebrated their second win (2-0) of the USPA Gold Cup. Orchard Hill suffered their second loss and fell to 0-2.

Albwardy, Cambiaso and Sola scored three goals apiece for the win. Taranco added a goal in the victory. Facundo Pieres scored three of his five goals from the field. Teammate de Lusarreta added two goals in the loss.

Coca-Cola 11, Flexjet 9

Flexjet scored first on a goal from Agustin “Tincho” Merlos but Coca-Cola roared back with four consecutive goals from Julio Arellano for a 4-1 lead after the opening chukker.

Tincho Merlos scored the only goal of the second chukker as both teams settled down and attempted to establish a rhythm on the field. After two periods of play, the lead belonged to Coca-Cola, 4-2.

Flexjet exploded with three goals in the third chukker while holding Coca-Cola to a pair of penalty conversions. Tincho Merlos scored once from the field and once on a 30-yard penalty conversion. Arellano countered with two penalty goals that kept them in the lead, 6-5.

Tincho Merlos came up with two more goals in the fourth, scoring once from the field and once on a penalty conversion. Coca-Cola responded with a goal from the field from Miguel Astrada. At the end of the chukker it was even at 7-7.

Coca-Cola added three more goals in the fifth, with team captain Gillian Johnston scoring twice from the field and Sugar Erskine adding a goal. Once again it was Tincho Merlos who responded for Flexjet with a goal from the field, 10-8.

In a listless final chukker Astrada and Sebastian Merlos each scored single goals but it was Coca-Cola in control of the match and running their record to 2-0. The loss drops the Flexjet record to 1-1 with Coca-Cola improving to a 1-1 record of their own.

Julio Arellano led the Coca-Cola attack with six goals, (three on penalty shots). Johnston and Astrada added two goals apiece, and Erskine scored once. Flexjet got seven goals from Tincho Merlos. His brother, Sebastian Merlos, and Roldan each added a goal.