Audi Victorious in the Second Game of 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship
The second game of the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship will be one that U.S. Polo Assn will want to forget as they fell to an improved Audi team 13-7 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The story of the first half was the battle between the two 10 goalers Polito Pieres and Juan Martin Nero, who faced off in the final of the Argentine Open last year. In this contest Polito had the edge, being the more influential player for his team and coming off better in their fierce encounters. A special mention for Mike Azzaro who showed glimpses of his previous 10 goal status with an impressive 1st half performance scoring 4 goals for Audi. The defense was anchored by Nic Roldan’s efforts as he saved two balls off his own goal line to deny U.S. Polo Assn certain goals. Audi was ultimately able to build and maintain a comfortable lead due to U.S. Polo Assn’s inability to convert from the field and the penalty line, where they shot 42% and 29% respectively in the game.
Audi took advantage of U.S. Polo Assn’s shooting woes early in the game as Marc Ganzi and Roldan scored in the opening chukka, while Azzaro added two of his four goals in the game during the second chukka. U.S. Polo Assn had a torrid time at the penalty line, converting only one of their three attempts by half time, combined with shooting just two for eight from the field. The balanced Audi attack finished the half with a four-goal third chukka, including two more goals from Azzaro to extend Audi’s lead to five by the end of the half.
U.S. Polo Assn displayed a spirited fightback at the start of the 2nd half, making three of their first four attempts, two of which came of the mallet of Nero as they cut the deficit to three goals. The Audi offense seemed to run out of steam in a back and forth second half as U.S. Polo Assn continued to fight their way back into the game. Provided with the opportunities to close the gap in the game, the sixth chukka saw two more missed penalty attempts from U.S. Polo Assn while Audi’s Nic Roldan and Marc Ganzi continued their perfect 100% shooting from the penalty line, converting both attempts to seal the victory. Converting just two of their seven penalty attempts in the game, US Polo Assn were unable to be competitive in the game against a resurgent Audi team finding their form for the U.S. Open Polo Championship.