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COCA-COLA AND SCONE CAPTURE SECOND VICTORIES IN USPA GOLD CUP®

Mar 22, 2021 9:49 PM

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Scone's Peke Gonzalez scored three goals in the victory over Pilot. ©David Lominska
Scone's Peke Gonzalez scored three goals in the victory over Pilot. ©David Lominska

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach

The final day of play in bracket play of the USPA Gold Cup® showcased the top four teams in bracket II fighting for a spot in the semifinals at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida). In the opening game of the day, Scone (David Paradice, Poroto Cambiaso, Peke Gonzalez*, Adolfo Cambiaso) outscored Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Kristos Magrini*, Gonzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres) to capture the 13-6 victory, while in the feature game of the week, Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Mackenzie Weisz, Diego Cavanagh, Julian de Lusarreta, sub. Francisco Elizalde) overcame an injury to Cavanagh to defeat La Indiana 14-10 on the U.S. Polo Assn Field 1.

The much-anticipated return of Facundo Pieres highlighted the match-up against Scone, but a dominant performance from the trio of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso and Gonzalez led Scone to victory. Controlling possession throughout the game, Scone held Pilot to just one field goal on 10 shot attempts while they were led offensively by six goals from Poroto Cambiaso. Heavily outshooting Pilot 21-10 and shooting a perfect four for four from the penalty line, Scone completed the impressive 13-6 victory.

Scone's Peke Gonzalez ahead of Pilot's Facundo Pieres, who returned after missing three games due to injury. ©David Lominska
Scone's Peke Gonzalez ahead of Pilot's Facundo Pieres, who returned after missing three games due to injury. ©David Lominska

Wasting little time after missing three games, Facundo Pieres scored the opening goal to give Pilot the early 1-0 lead. A Penalty 4 conversion from Adolfo Cambiaso was Scone’s response in an evenly matched first chukker with neither team able to grab control of the play. That changed in the second chukker as Pilot was held scoreless and Scone’s offense began to take charge of the game, receiving two field goals from Poroto Cambiaso to build a two-goal lead. Finishing the half with five consecutive goals, Scone kept Pilot in their defensive half while Poroto Cambiaso produced one of his best showings of the season, stealing the ball from Facundo Pieres and adding his third and fourth goals to lead 6-2.

Scone's Poroto Cambiaso led all players with six goals against Pilot. ©Alex Pacheco
Scone's Poroto Cambiaso led all players with six goals against Pilot. ©Alex Pacheco

Unable to generate any offense from the field, Pilot ended Scone’s run with a Penalty 4 conversion from Gonzalito Pieres, but it was a brief reprieve from Scone’s attack, which continued to pressure Pilot and extend their lead. Two goals from Adolfo Cambiaso concluded the fourth chukker, giving Scone a five-goal advantage as they maintained consistent possession of the ball. In need of offense, Pilot produced two shots at goal in the fifth chukker but were unable to find their target, while Scone pushed their lead to six after a goal and an assist from Gonzalez. Two penalty conversions for Pilot in the sixth chukker proved to be their only offense as Poroto Cambiaso finished a strong performance with two more goals in the 13-6 victory for Scone.

Coca-Cola's Julian de Lusarreta taking the ball on the nearside under pressure from La Indiana's Michael Bickford. ©David Lominska
Coca-Cola's Julian de Lusarreta taking the ball on the nearside under pressure from La Indiana's Michael Bickford. ©David Lominska

The feature game of the week between Coca-Cola and La Indiana had implications on the semifinal with a La Indiana victory advancing them straight to the semifinal while a Coca-Cola victory would set up a three-team shootout with Scone. Leading from start to finish, Coca-Cola overcame an injury to Cavanagh, seeing Elizalde step in for the 9-goaler and have a significant impact against La Indiana. Leading all players with six goals despite not playing until the start of the third chukker, Elizalde filled in admirably and provided a spark for Coca-Cola as they dominated possession in the 14-10 win.

Determined to fight for their place in the semifinals, Coca-Cola raced out of the gate with a three-goal first chukker, taking advantage of two La Indiana fouls to convert a Penalty 4 and 2 attempt from Cavanagh and Weisz. Although they were limited to just one shot attempt, La Indiana’s Pieres took advantage of the opportunity which resulted in a 3-1 difference on the scoreboard. Two quick goals for Coca-Cola to start the second chukker pushed their lead to four as La Indiana struggled to find their footing. Before the end of the chukker, La Indiana gained some momentum thanks to a penalty conversion from Pieres and field goal from Escobar. An injury forced Cavanagh from the game as Coca-Cola brought in Elizalde and despite jumping into a new team, he made an immediate impact. Receiving two passes from Lusarreta, Elizalde found instant chemistry, adding two goals to give Coca-Cola the 7-4 lead at halftime.

Coca-Cola's Mackenzie Weisz focused on the ball with La Indiana's Jeff Hall in pursuit on U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. ©Alex Pacheco
Coca-Cola's Mackenzie Weisz focused on the ball with La Indiana's Jeff Hall in pursuit on U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. ©Alex Pacheco

Continuing his impressive substitute performance, Elizalde converted all three shot attempts in an exceptional fourth chukker for Coca-Cola as they took control against La Indiana, building a significant 11-6 advantage on the scoreboard. In need of offense, La Indiana came alive in the fifth chukker by holding Coca-Cola scoreless and relying on the duo of Pieres and Escobar to score three unanswered goals and pull within two. With their sights set on a comeback, La Indiana struggled to keep possession in the final chukker as Coca-Cola effectively managed their lead to complete the 14-10 victory.

Scoring six goals in just four chukkers, Francisco Elizalde was named Most Valuable Player.

Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Open Reebok, played by Elizalde and owned by Nico Pieres.

Scone, La Indiana and Coca-Cola entered a shootout on Monday, March 22, with La Indiana and Scone advancing to the semifinals on Wednesday, March 24. La Indiana will play Tonkawa at 10:30am ET while Scone will face Park Place at 4:00pm ET.

*Peke Gonzalez and Kristos Magrini are Active Team USPA Members. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

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