Wellington, FL – February 14, 2021 – The conclusion to the 2020 edition of the USPA Gold Cup® at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) was in doubt when postponed on March 17, 2020, but nearly a year later, it was La Indiana that finally emerged as the champions with a strong performance on the Home of the U.S. Polo Assn – Field 1, defeating Daily Racing Form 14-9. A balanced team performance that was led by five goals from Polito Pieres, La Indiana etched their name on the coveted USPA Gold Cup® trophy and claimed the $100,000 prize to officially conclude the 2020 season.
After narrowly defeating the 2019 Gauntlet of Polo® champion Pilot for the second time in the semifinal, La Indiana had their sights set on the 2020 USPA Gold Cup® title and produced a dominant performance against Daily Racing Form. Conceding only one goal in the first half, La Indiana scored a stretch of nine unanswered goals by controlling possession and keeping Daily Racing Form pinned in their own half. Youngsters Nico Escobar and Juan Cruz Marcos led the La Indiana team at the front of the game, combining for six goals as part of an efficient La Indiana offense, while Daily Racing Form was limited to just four field goals throughout the game. Finding redemption from his 2019 defeat in the final with Aspen, Pieres led the way offensively throughout the tournament, capping off his performance with five goals in La Indiana’s convincing five-goal victory.
La Indiana defeated Daily Racing Form with a score of 14 to 9. ©Alex Pacheco
With Marcos’ recent increase to a three-goal handicap, Daily Racing Form began the game with a one-goal advantage that quickly increased to two on a penalty conversion from Zenni. Foul trouble hindered La Indiana in the early stages of the game, committing three fouls, but after re-organizing in the final stages of the first chukker, La Indiana dominated the remainder of the half. The second chukker set the tone for La Indiana as they outscored Daily Racing Form 5-0, with Pieres converting both of his penalty attempts while also adding a goal from the field. Held without a shot attempt, Daily Racing Form remained a step behind with La Indiana continuing to build on their lead. In a well-rounded attack, La Indiana saw all four players find the scoresheet after Jeff Hall added two goals in the third chukker. La Indiana’s defense was nearly impenetrable as Daily Racing Form failed to score a goal from the field and were left facing a 9-2 deficit at halftime.
Jeff Hall celebrates the team‘s victory with teammate Nico Escobar. ©Alex Pacheco
Daily Racing Form emerged out of the halftime break displaying some urgency as they sought to narrow the gap on the scoreboard. From the back of the game, accurate passing from Tommy Collingwood set up two goals for Daily Racing Form as they finally broke through from the field on two goals from Costi Caset and one from Jared Zenni. Scoring five of the first six goals to begin the second half, Daily Racing Form quickly turned a seven-goal difference to just three as the momentum of the final changed. With plenty of time remaining in the fifth chukker, La Indiana responded with the team-based attack that ultimately proved to be the difference in the game. One goal from each of the four La Indiana players brought their lead back to seven with one chukker remaining. With a focus on managing their lead, La Indiana sat back to protect against open runs to goal, watching time tick down until the final horn sounded and they captured the 2020 USPA Gold Cup® with the impressive 14-9 victory.
Hall was awarded Most Valuable Player, while Best Playing Pony was given to Machitos Pangea, played by Polito Pieres.
Jeff Hall, pictured with Steve Rudolph, was presented with an Ewheel as the Most Valuable Player. ©Alex Pacheco
The 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup will begin Wednesday, February 17, at 11 a.m. at IPC as Coca Cola takes on Pilot. Polo matches at IPC are not open to the general public except for ticketed Sunday brunch. Online viewing is available with a subscription at globalpolo.com.