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The USA Selects beat Canada 16-3 Wednesday at Westhills Stadium in Langford, Canada. The USA utilized a strong kicking game and solid defense to build an 8-0 halftime lead, though both teams saw prime scoring chances go begging. The Selects staved off Canada in the second half, too, scoring one more try and one more penalty to Canada’s lone penalty.
Tim Stanfill, who moved from the bench to the starting lineup following the loss to the Argentina Jaguars, scored both American tries on the day. The opportunity for his first was created by a win in the kicking battle.
USA flyhalf Adam Siddall first kicked to a corner, Canada returned the gesture, and Siddall then put in an up-and-under. A good chase and tackle by No. 8 Matt Trouville saw Canada spill the ball forward in its own end. The Selects went through a few phases after the scrum, opening up the space for Stanfill on the wing. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving the USA up 7-0.
Canada got a shot at goal a few minutes later, with the USA being called for offside on the fringes. Gordon McRorie’s shot at goal was wayward, however, leaving the Selects up 5-0. Siddall, on the other hand, capitalized on his first kick for points, slotting a penalty from over 40 meters out to put the USA up 8-0.
McRorie’s kicking woes continued minutes later, as he missed a second very makeable shot after the Selects were called for offside following a Siddall punt. The misses left what could have been a two-point game 8-0.
The Selects missed their own opportunity seconds later. Again the chance was the result of a strong kicking game. Fullback Troy Hall charged down a desperate kick from a Canadian wing inside his own 22. Siddall, offside, grabbed the ball before Hall, who was onside and just a few feet away with no Canadian threat nearby, and what should have been a try wound up a penalty.
After several minutes of back-and-forth play, the United States spoiled another great chance. Defensive pressure forced a dropped ball in the Canadian backline, and Siddall fly-hacked it down field. Maupin, with no one near him, dribbled it ahead once more, and bobbled the pickup. Had he gathered it cleanly, it was a sure seven points. As it happened, the USA led 8-0 at the half.
Canada got on the board first in the second half with a McRorie penalty just a few minutes in. The shot was awarded after Andrew Suniula was yellow-carded for a high tackle. The kick pulled Canada within five at 8-3.
Siddall had a chance to extend the lead after Canada was called for obstruction in the process of trying to field a kick. Siddall opted for a shot at goal from about 45 meters out on the right side of the field, and the ball careened off the posts.
Despite the miss, the Selects maintained a territorial advantage, providing another opportunity. The Americans were banging on the door, but a knock-on just a few meters out spoiled a prime scoring chance.
When Canada tried to clear the ball after winning the set piece, Tim Stanfill streaked up the middle of the field and knocked on. The former Central Washington All American erased that mistake shortly thereafter, though, picking up another dropped ball in the Canadian backline and racing in untouched for his second try of the match. The touch-line conversion was missed, making it 13-3.
Siddall added to the final tally with a point-blank shot at goal near the 75th minute. Canada never really threatened the try line in the second half, as the Selects put on consistent pressure.
The win is the USA’s second in a row over Canada in the ARC. Though the match wasn’t isn’t a full-rankings test, it does mark the third-straight win for the Americans over Canada, including full tests and ARC bouts. That’s a positive step for Mike Tolkin and his staff, as the USA has struggled mightily against Canada in recent years.
The Selects will wrap up the 2014 ARC Sunday at 5:30pm ET against Uruguay. Los Teros are 0-2 in the competition, after falling 20-6 to Canada in their first game and 31-9 to the Argentina Jaguars Wednesday. The Americans cannot catch the 2-0 Jaguars even with a win over Uruguay and an Argentine loss to Canada.