USA vs. Italy Match Report

Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Brilliant summer weather broke through a cloudy week for an exciting international series matchup, USA vs. Italy, on Saturday July 23rd, part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines. Team Italy, a regular of the international series and fan favorite, arrived in Newport with a rockstar roster ready to battle Team USA and regain their winning streak. Their roster boasted two well seasoned veterans and two next generations hotshots, all ready for a thrilling 6-chukker match. Spectators from all around New England were thrilled for the return of the Italians and arrived at the International Polo Grounds dressed in their best Italian inspired attire sporting their Italian-style picnics to celebrate. 

The International Polo Grounds were buzzing with action as the Pro Shop opened early and spectators shopped new additions like the Captain Polo and the Kid's Tee, perfect for all summer activities. The Patio Bar served up classics from Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Stella Artois, and Santa Margherita Wines. Goslings summer cocktails were also in high demand: The Tropic Time Out, Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and the classic Dark 'n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. The Cocktail Guru offered up artisan specialty cocktails for purchase at the Pony Express Bar. Gourmet Food Trucks were busy serving delectable classics from Newport Chowder Company, Wally's Hot Dog Cart, Village Greek, Hawaiian Jim's Shave Ice, and Milk Caffe. The Vendor Village was packed with new additions for the day. Herb Chambers Exotics featured a series of luxury vehicles from Lamorghini and Santa Margherita Wines hosted wine tasting with their best vintages to celebrate the spirit of Italy. Other specialty vendors showcased their unique items including Opt Eyewear and Ocean State Charity Events. 

At 5PM the game started promptly, beginning with an opening ceremony and a few words from Team Italy's captain, Marco Elser. The pre-match coin toss was led by Christine Scott, Marketing Director at Bentley Boston. Following the coin toss, announcer William Crisp introduced the two teams. In blue was Team USA with speed demon Roger Souto at #1, veteran Dan Keating at #2, team captain Rory Torrey at #3, and defender George Hempt at #4. In white was Team Italy with veteran Marco Elser at #1, hotshot Peter Elser at #2, pro Pedro Llorente at #3, and Henry Elser at #4 to anchor the Italians. After the introductions came the Italian national anthem and Star Spangled Banner.

The match began with an early advance from Team USA on the offense towards goal. Two minutes in, Torrey scored an incredible goal on Kathy Got Even to boost Team USA into an early lead. Team Italy pushed back and less than two minutes later Llorente scored two goals in quick succession just before the end of the first chukker. Team USA dominated the second chukker with an unbelievable run from Torrey as he scored 4 goals on Alesha to boost Team USA to a lead of 5-2 over Italy. In the third chukker Keating scored an early goal with Llorente scoring another to fight back leaving the score 6-3 at half time with Team USA in a clear lead. 

Half time arrived quickly after the first three chukkers which signaled the half time divot stomp to "reset" the field for the second half of the match. The Vendor Village bustled and the Pro Shop was packed with action as spectators turned in their raffle tickets in hopes of winning the Daily Door Prize, a gift from Veuve Clicquot, and for a chance to win the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize, two business class tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines. During halftime the judges circled around the field to determine the best Italian tailgate spread or picnic to to award the Stella Artois Best in the Show Contest prize, a vintage lawn chair and 12-pack from Stella Artois

In the fourth chukker the score gap tightened as Llorente scored two goals for Team Italy. Torrey ended the chukker with another goal to bring the score to 7-5 with the Americans still in the lead. After the chukker William announced the winner of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest, a brilliant Italian  tailgate spread and winner of the prize from Stella Artois. Team USA came out strong in the fifth chukker with a goal from Hempt, his first of the game. Llorente then scored his sixth goal off of a penalty followed by one from Peter Elser, his first of the match. The sixth chukker was a thrilling one as Team Italy aimed to tie the game with Team USA but Torrey solidified their fate with his final goal to bring Team USA to victory with a final score of 9-7. 

Directly after the match Team USA and Team Italy made a lap around the field in the Newport Victory Salute, a beloved post-game tradition. Afterwards was the Veuve Clicquot Trophy Presentation where Christine Scott of Bentley Boston presented the USA vs Italy Perpetual Cup and the Providence Diamond player's trophies. Pedro Llorente of Team Italy was named MVP of the match and Tarzan, loaned to Team Italy by Dan Keating, was named Best Playing Pony. After the celebration and autograph signing, the players and spectators enjoyed Italian style neapolitan pizzas from Amano Pizza + Gelato and cocktails from Goslings in the Modern Luxury Lounge.  

Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 31 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team - Newport/USA - meets challengers each season from around the world as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport's unique traditions and renowned attractions.   

The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September, with 6 remaining international teams, 4 city challengers, a Pro-Am and more. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, as per RI State mandates and US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports.  Stay current with the 2022 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.

The Polo Grounds' favorable proximity to the shores of the island's Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer.  Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600's that became the Town of Portsmouth's original gentlemen's farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th-century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.  

The Newport International Polo Series is proud to roll out its 2022 sponsors including Brenton HotelBDTD BankTurkish AirlinesModern Luxury BostonHerb Chambers ExoticsVanderbilt International PropertiesHotel Viking, Santa Margherita Wines, Providence DiamondVeuve ClicquotClarke Cooke House, Atria Senior Living, US Polo AssociationStella ArtoisGoslingsROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter ToursThe Cocktail GuruNewport Jaguar ToursInternational Tennis Hall of FameNewport MansionsNewport ClassicalIsland Surf and Sport, Newport Picnic Co., Northeast Equestrian LifeNewport Vineyards and Audrain Automobile Museum.

“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.

This is the 31th season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Switzerland and Colombia.

Gilded Age Legacy.  Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century B.C. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport's summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America's first polo club in 1876.  A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.