Game 1 of the unofficial semi-finals of the 2017 Tortugas Open today in Palermo pits 39-goal Ellerstina against 35-goal Alegría (2 p.m. local time, field 2) in what you can bet will be a lightning-fast game.
Ellerstina made an impressive debut in the Triple Crown on Monday, defeating Cría Yatay 15-3. After scoring 13 goals in their opening game, Ellerstina held Cría Yatay to only three goals, thanks to a balanced team defense from Ellerstina. Holding their opponent to zero field goals through five chukkers, Ellerstina’s Nico Pieres was a key player in the No. 4 position using backhands to quickly turn defense into offense.
Their performance on the defensive side of the ball bodes well for Ellerstina moving forward, as their offense should continue to produce at the rate seen in their opening game. Facundo Pieres finished with seven goals (five from the field, two from the penalty line) to lead Ellerstina, while the contribution of Gonzalito and Polito Pieres in the middle of the field freed up Facundo and Nico to attack goal. The open play dominance of Ellerstina will prove difficult for Alegría, as Ellerstina minimized mistakes and only fouled three times in their first game, leaving the outcome away from the penalty line.
Alegría opened their Triple Crown with a 16-13 victory as a new line-up with Facundo Sola in place of Lucas Monteverde, was effective in the middle chukkers, distancing themselves from Cría Yatay. Alegría is not short of offensive firepower, led by Hilario Ulloa’s 10 goals in the opening game and Sapo Caset and Sola contributing three goals each. Using a method that involved quick backhands and a fast-paced style of play, Alegría’s front three players were able to drive forward with Fred Mannix protecting defensively in the No. 4 position.
Although Ellerstina produced only three fouls in their first game, Ulloa’s proficiency from the penalty line could be crucial for Alegría. Against Cría Yatay, Alegría struggled on throw-ins, only winning 12 of 32, an important stat that will come into play if Alegría provides Ellerstina with extra possessions.
-Hilario Ulloa finished with 10 goals (six from the field, four from the penalty line), compared to seven goals (five from the field, two from the penalty line) for Facundo Pieres.
-Ellerstina only committed three total fouls against Cría Yatay.
-Against Cría Yatay, Alegría won 38% of throw-ins, while Ellerstina won 71%.
-Facundo and Nico Pieres combined to shoot 9-for-15, a stat matched by the combo of Ulloa and Sapo Caset.