By Alejandra Ocampo - contribution by Juan Cruz Diaz de Céspedes, from Palm Beach.
Valiente and Orchard Hill scored wins in the opening day of the USPA Gold Cup, the second tournament of the American Triple Crown, at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Up first, Valiente and Coca Cola played a tight match, featuring open polo and great plays.
Bob Jornayvaz's team held an impressive 6-2 lead over Gillian Johnston's foursome at the end of the second chukka. However, Coca Cola made a comeback in the third, when Julio Arellano scored three unanswered goals to tie the game 3-all by half time.
What followed next were a very intense few chukkas. Coca Cola outscored Valiente to go 8-7 up in the fourth, but Valiente caught up in next to make it 10-9. The match was decided in the last chukka; Adolfo Cambiaso scored to widen Valiente's advantage (11-9). Miguel Novillo Astrada scored Coca Cola's single goal in the last, but all was said and done and Valiente claimed the win.
Score Valiente: 2-1, 6-2, 6-, 7-8, 10-9, 11-10
Valiente: Adolfo Cambiaso 5, Diego Cavanagh 5, Matias Torres Zavaleta 1
Coca Cola: Julio Arellano 4, Miguel Novillo Astrada 3, Julián de Lusarreta 1, Gillian Johnston 1
Next, Orchard Hill faced Audi, who made their debut in the 2017 Palm Beach season. Marc Ganzi's team had a better start, but Orchard Hill replied in the next two chukkas, making it 4-all by half time.
Audi took the lead in the fourth and maintained that advantage into the fifth, when they held Orchard Hill scoreless. As a result, Audi had a two-goal lead (6-4) with only seven minutes left.
Far from giving up, a determined Orchard Hill tightened their attack in the last - and three unanswered goals, courtesy of Facundo Pieres, tied the match 7-all. In the last seconds of play, Facundo picked up the ball and rode to the goalposts. His goal sealed a dramatic win for Steve van Andel's team.
Score Orchard Hill: 0-2, 3-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 8-7
Orchard Hill: Facundo Pieres 7, Polito Pieres 1
Audi: Gonzalito Pieres 3, Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade 3, Tomás Pieres 1