INSIDE POLO with Ron Allen
With shear determination and a solid game plan Zacara upset Valiente
in the finals of the U.S. Open. The determination came from, former
10 goaler, Mike Azzaro (7) who gave 100% in spite of being injured
in a game just four days earlier. The game plan was to shut down the
“double back” option play which Cambiaso and Sterling had developed
so well this season.
Both teams traded goals and the lead several times throughout the hotly
contested title match. Valiente with a one goal lead at the end of the first
chukker. Santi Torres (6) with a 200-yard run to goal, under pressure,
to tie the game at 5 all at the end of two. Valiente took back the lead by
half time 8 to 7.
Facundo Pieres (10) with three goals in the fourth, including an
impressive 100 yard goal to put Zacara back in the lead 10 to 9. Several
fouls were called against Valiente as the result of the tactics used by
Zacara throughout the match. The game was tied eight times and a
tenacious defense by Zacara held Valiente scoreless in the final chukker.
There was controversy near the end of the game when officials gave
Valiente a mid-field penalty shot when Cambiaso felt it should have
been a 60 yard penalty four. In frustration he struck the ball and walked
off the field. The interpretation of where the ball should have been
placed was the subject of much debate among spectators following the
game. Lyndon Lea’s Zacara team went on to win the Open for the second
year in a row 16 to 13 on 12 goals from Pieres.
MVP: Facundo Pieres
BPP: Medallion, owned by Bob Jornayvaz
Ron Allen is the polo commentator for ESPN International