By Ron Allen
It took five players to defeat the undefeated Valiente power team in last Sundays U.S. Open. Valiente didn’t need a coach. After all, the world’s two best players knew how to win. Both Adolfo and Facundo have won the Open on separate teams in the past and together on the same team they feared know one.
Earlier this year Julio Arellano took a bad spill and ended up on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. The 46-year-old, eight goaler, from Nicaragua is a three-time U.S. Open winner. He had all the credentials to provide four young players on the DRF team with helpful insight on how to overcome the highly favored polo machine known as Valiente.
His winning philosophy was simple. It’s an adage as old as the game itself, ‘man before ball’. All players are told, early on, that it’s important not to chase the ball. “Stay with your man and he’ll take you to the ball.” Arellano reminded his team at half time, when they were clinging to a narrow one goal lead, to stay with the two 10 goalers and don’t let them out of sight for even a second.
The fifth man made a big difference. Julio can now ad another Open victory to his impressive polo resume, even if he didn’t get on a horse this time.