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The United States fell to 1-1 at Gold Coast with a 14-7 loss to England in the second round of pool play. The Americans were in the game from whistle to whistle, but some questionable decision making and shoddy execution led to a one-score loss that sees the Eagles relying on a pool-closing win for a Cup Quarterfinal berth.
The first half of the England game was the opposite of the Canada game – the Eagles controlled the vast majority of possession, but the English led at halftime 7-0. The USA was a shoe-string tackle away from a try twice, but a poor lost ball from Carlin Isles at the very end of the half resulted in England taking a 7-0 lead into the break.
The Eagles held most of the possession of the early second half, too, and Zack Test made it count when he caught an offload from Pat Blair and slipped through the teeth of the English defense to score under the posts. After the conversion, it was tied 7-7.
Set piece plays wound up undoing the Eagles, though. With about 1:45 left to play in the game, the USA had an attacking penalty, could have kicked for a point-blank lineout to waste a little time and have a great try-scoring platform, but instead captain Madison Hughes opted to run. After a couple of designed switches, the Eagles lost the ball in the tackle.
There was one more restart left, and England put the kickoff straight to touch. The Eagles botched the free kick with no time left on the clock, as Garrett Bender was called for obstruction on a dummy line, ending the game.
The Eagles now sit at 1-1 with a match versus Argentina left in pool play. Evident in the England game was the perceived danger of the Eagles. The English played a blitz defense to try and prevent the ball getting to the American wing with space to spare. It was successful, but surely the American coaching staff will be hard at work scheming to set its perimeter talent free in the next game.
Argentina managed to beat Canada by two in the other Pool D match of the second round, meaning the Eagles can advance to the Cup Quarterfinals with a win over Argentina in its final day-one game. A tie or loss could conceivably move them through, too, depending on the result of England’s bout with Canada. USA kicks off against Argentina at 2:07am ET.
Tries: Gray, Hayter
Cons: Watson (2)