FIP Zone A playoff number two: Spectators packed into the Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida, for the highly-anticipated USA debut in the XI Federation of International Polo (FIP) World Polo Championship Zone “A” Playoffs. Fans were ready to watch a well prepared USA team after three weeks of extensive training in Australia, take on Guatemala. The second playoff match of the tournament, Guatemala represented by Sebastian Aycinena (2 goals), José Miguel Aguilar (3 goals), Fernando Beltranena (3 goals) and José Ignacio Beltranena (2 goals) faced off against USA formed by Remy Du Celliee Muller (3 goals), Geronimo Obregon (4 goals), Felipe Viana (5 goals) and Herndon Radcliff (3 goals) in an FIP customary five-chukker match.
Not to be underestimated having suffered a narrow half-goal loss to Mexico 10-9.5, Guatemala received 3.5 goals at the onset of the match. Demonstrating excellent teamwork and anticipation, the USA quickly rallied to narrow the deficit with a penalty 2 conversion and two field goals; one from Obregon off a well-placed backshot from Radcliff, the other by Muller off an assist from Obregon. Guatemala’s Fernando Beltranena led his team, converting a penalty 3 and scoring from the field to widen their lead 5.5-3 at the end of the first.
Team USA continued their forward momentum into the second and third, scoring three unanswered goals, taking the lead for the first time 6-5.5. It was too close for comfort however, as both teams struggled from the penalty 4 line. Team captain Viana took control in the fourth, scoring two skillful field goals to widen USA’s lead 8-5.5 moving into the final chukker. Both teams capitalized on penalty 2 conversions in the fifth to maintain the gap. A final goal from Obregon would cement the win for USA 10-6.5 despite a valiant Guatemala effort.
“We are proud to provide a venue to showcase the best athletes from Mexico, Guatemala and the United States,” said USPA Chairman Joseph Meyer, “and look forward to each team competing for an opportunity to advance to the XI FIP World Polo Championship in Australia.”
The XI FIP World Polo Championship Zone “A” Playoff Final between the USA and Mexico will be this winter season’s last featured 3:00pm ET Sunday match at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.
By: United States Polo Association.