Tuesday was another roller coaster day in Pilar. Round 2 of the Hurlingham Open saw a close call (La Aguada Las Monjitas-Cría Yatay 11-10 OT) and a slew of crazy point spreads (Alegria 18-5; Ellerstina-La Dolfina Polo Ranch 19-7). The only non-gasper was La Dolfina’s 10-6 defeat of La Albertina Abu Dhabi.
Two teams had to play with subs in place of one of their key players: Guillermo Willington for Matias MacDonough (Alegría), and Juan Britos for Alfredo Bigatti, who had been subbing for Eduardo Novillo Astrada (La Aguada Las Monjitas) since his opening day injury in the Tortugas Open. It’s too early to tell what effect subs may have on the tournament as a whole, but here’s a look at how they did yesterday.
ALEGRÍA VS. LA IRENITA: GUILLERMO WILLINGTON
This was a stellar performance by Alegría, who controlled play from start to finish. Sapo Caset was absolutely dominant in the game, scoring 13 goals (6 penalties, 7 field goals). Alegría used a very fast style of play that saw them execute long passes down field to Caset, who was able to get away from the La Irenita defense often throughout the game.
Guillermo Willington, playing in place of Matias MacDonough, was quiet in the first half, playing the #3 position and often deferring to Clemente Zavaleta. He seemed slightly stuck in the middle of the field and was often chasing Alegría to the ball, without getting many touches himself. Trailing 14-4 at halftime, La Irenita made the adjustment to have Willington play more of a back position and have Zavaleta move forward. This meant Willington began taking all the knock-ins and penalty 5s while being in a better defensive position to stop the Caset attack. La Irenita was much better in the second half with Willington at the back, giving up only four goals in the final three chukkers, compared to 14 in the first four chukkers. Alegría shot 2-for-11 after the change to put Willington more in the back position. He didn't have any shots, but did win a throw-in.
LA AGUADA LM VS. CRÍA YATAY: JUAN BRITOS
In this close game it came down to penalty shots, as there were a combined 17 of them between the two teams. Cría Yatay controlled open play, outshooting La Aguada Las Monjitas 14-6. But they were only able to convert four of those 14 shot attempts, while La Aguada LM took advantage of their chances, shooting 4-for-6.
The middle of the game was key for Cría Yatay, but the seventh chukker belonged to La Aguada LM—thanks to two penalty goals for Alejandro Novillo Astrada and overtime decided by another penalty shot by him.
After a strong season in the UK with Park Place, Juan Britos replaced Alfredo Bigatti, who had been subbing for Eduardo Novillo Astrada. Britos made a goal on his sole shot attempt of the game. He also won three throw-ins. Active in the middle of the field, Britos was involved throughout the game, hitting backhands and pressuring the Cría Yatay ball carrier. However, Britos got into a bit of foul trouble, committing four fouls (two of them penalty 2s).
Playing an aggressive type of style in the middle of the field had Britos working hard off the ball, allowing Alejandro and Ignacio to primarily control the ball on the attack. Britos caused some turnovers and turn the play around in La Aguada's favor, but Cría Yatay was able to control open play for a large portion of the game, putting Britos on the defensive. An offensively minded player with Park Place along with Bigatti, Britos missed some of the attacks he would normally convert. Once he develops a bit more chemistry with the Novillo Astradas, opponents better watch out for him on offense.
Photos by Katerina Morgan Photography