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PLAYBOOK FROM PALERMO: (FINALLY) READY TO ROLL THIS WEEKEND!

PoloChannel Staff | 11/17/18

A week-long rain delay in the start of the Argentine Open has left the players as tightly wound and ready to spring as a jack-in-the-box—and that should make for some interesting moves on the field this weekend. All teams are playing, except for La Dolfina and Ellerstina (both have a bye). Here are some player combos to watch in each of the four games. All times are local.

ALEGRÍA-LA IRENITA v. LA ENSENADA (Saturday 2 p.m.)

Alegría-La Irenita and La Ensenada open play for the second consecutive tournament, after La Ensenada claimed an upset win in Hurlingham despite being ranked four goals lower on handicap (La Ensenada 28, Alegría 32). La Ensenada is fueled by the sizzling young duo of Juan Britos and Juan Martín Zubia. Britos has already proven himself a standout in the Triple Crown, averaging 5.0 goals per game. That places him tied for fourth among all players and ahead of 10-goalers Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres. Pacing the offense, Britos has also converted 69% of his penalties, with his only misses coming from the 60-yard line. Zubia has been very active in open play, but his presence has been felt on throw-ins, where he ranks first among all players with 5.5 throw-in wins per game. The extra possessions he provides La Ensenada has been crucial to their success.

LA AGUADA v. LA DOLFINA POLO RANCH (Saturday 4:30 p.m.)

La Aguada and La Dolfina Polo Ranch are battling for fourth position in the rankings, with La Aguada currently holding the advantage. La Dolfina Polo Ranch will look to claim a big victory on Saturday behind the duo of Guillermo Terrera and Diego Cavanagh. The success of these two pistols comes down to efficiency, both from the field and the penalty line. Ranking fourth and fifth respectively in shooting percentage from the field, Terrera and Cavanagh have taken full advantage of any opportunities that come their way, but have they have struggled at times to get enough chances to shoot at goal. If La Aguada isn’t on their A game defensively, La Dolfina Polo Ranch has the capability to score at a high rate. Terrera launches the attack from the field, leading the team with 2.8 field goals per game, while Cavanagh has proved to be efficient from the penalty line, shooting an impressive 83% on 23 attempts.

LA ALBERTINA V. LA CANADA ANGIOCOR-DRF (Sunday 2 p.m.)

Nearly upsetting two elite teams (La Dolfina and Las Monjitas), La Albertina has shown the ability to play at a high level, in large part due to the offensive and defensive efforts of Alfredo Cappella, along with an increased offensive role for Nic Roldan. La Albertina shot a perfect 12-for-12 from the penalty line in the Hurlingham Open, with Cappella responsible for seven of those penalties. Anchoring the defense, Cappella’s positioning and backhands have been crucial to La Albertina’s success, and while he only shot at goal 1.3 times per game, he converted 60% of his attempts. The balanced La Albertina offense saw all four players average between 2.0 and 2.5 goals per game, but the increased presence of Roldan in the Hurlingham Open was noticeable as he doubled his shot attempts up to 5.0 per game, ranking tenth in the tournament. Roldan’s firepower has forced opposing defenses to turn their attention to him, which has opened the field for his teammates. In a favored game against La Cañada, look for La Albertina to utilize the efforts of Roldan and Cappella in the front and back of the game.

CRÍA YATAY v. LAS MONJITAS (Sunday 4:30 p.m.)

No duo in the Triple Crown has proved to be more of an offensive force than Facundo Sola and Sapo Caset for Las Monjitas, with the two players ranking first and second respectively in shot attempts per game. Leading the Triple Crown with 6.5 goals per game (1.1 goals more than the next closest player), Caset has been crucial in each Las Monjitas game. Shooting an accurate 76% from the penalty line, Caset has taken advantage of penalty attempts provided by opposing defenses. Meanwhile, from the field Sola has played an exemplary #1 position, driving the team forward to score 4.1 field goals per game, highest among all players. Cría Yatay, with a 32-goal handicap, will need to slow this duo to have any chance to upset 37-goal Las Monjitas.

All Argentine Open games will be live-streamed at: https://live.aapolo.com/

 

Photography: Helen Cruden