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Photos courtesy GLOBAL POLO ENTERTAINMENT/@agusfondapl
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. -- An electric and eager crowd of spectators filled the prestigious U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, to witness the thrilling conclusion of the USPA Gold Cup® between Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Mackenzie Weisz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres) and Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis*).
Both entering the final undefeated in bracket play, Park Place’s only defeat in the 2022 GAUNTLET OF POLO® came at the hands of Pilot in their first of two matchups in the C.V. Whitney Cup®, where Park Place subsequently turned the tables to knock Pilot out of finals contention. Moving on to raise the C.V. Whitney Cup® and make a run for the 2022 GAUNTLET OF POLO®, Pilot found themselves engaged once again with the herculean task of besting a championship caliber team in Park Place. The only team to successfully complete the monumental task of becoming GAUNTLET champions in 2019, Pilot came prepared with the horsepower, strategy and motivation required to take on Park Place’s number one rated offense.
Leading his team with sixty goals on the season entering the USPA Gold Cup® final, Pilot’s 10-goaler Pieres elevated his play as a leader and offensive powerhouse, accounting for all of Pilot’s offensive contributions in the final. Leading from the onset of play, Pieres’ ability to guide his team on both sides of the ball led to an incredible ten-goal effort through six chukkers of contested action. Unable to slow down the athletic efforts of Pieres, Park Place focused on strong team play and ball circulation, with the potent duo of Britos and leading GAUNTLET scorer Ulloa combining for nine goals to keep Park Place neck-in-neck with their challengers.
Unable to settle the score in regulation, the offensive forces of the two teams combined for twenty goals, as both sides attempted in overtime to seize the title as their own. A successful hook on Britos from Zavaleta thwarted Park Place’s initial opportunity allowing Pieres to create space between the defenders and escort the ball across the line. Treating spectators to a riveting 11-10 victory, Pilot returned to the podium, simultaneously extinguishing Park Place’s dreams of capturing the 2022 GAUNTLET.