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Ian Muir photo

A depleted Team USA fell 31-10 to Argentina in the bronze medal match Sunday in Sydney. Already down Stephen Tomasin and Madison Hughes thanks to injury, head coach Mike Friday decided to rest Danny Barrett and start Joe Schroeder in the bronze medal match against Argentina. He wasn’t the one making green mistakes in the early goings, though.

Folau Niua lined up a turnover deep in the USA’s defensive end by throwing an erroneously late pass to Martin Iosefo in contact. Argentina was sloppy with the ball, and Niua scooped it up off the ground, but then when faced with being tossed out of bounds, he threw a blind pass over his head, which Argentina picked up and scored feet later. The conversion was missed – 5-0.

The lead was doubled by Lautaro Velez, who pierced the hole between Niua and Schroeder. The latter wasn’t quick enough laterally to get a hand on Velez, who would scamper in for a long-range try. The conversion pushed the lead to 12-0.

Schroeder made a gallop into the attacking end in the last minute of the half. Iosefo got the ball after Schroeder was brought down, and he chipped over the Argentine defense and won the race to the ball in the try zone for a try. Niua’s conversion attempt hit the upright, leaving the Eagles down 12-5 at halftime.

Iosefo’s second kick attempt, this one a booming target for Baker’s chase, didn’t pan out so well. Argentina comfortably won that race, and Conrado Roura easily carved through the American defense, extending the lead to 19-5 with a converted try.

Iosefo was picked on for the next Argentine score, too. The Eagles again had their backs against the wall with a lineout. Iosefo tried to take on his opposite and knocked on in the tackle. Argentina scooped and scored all too easily, bumping the lead to 26-5.

On the next possession, Carlin Isles was the one who spilt the ball in the defensive end. The Eagles would get the ball back quickly, but not clear their lines before Unufe gave the ball away, leading to another Argentina score. Ben Pinkelman would score at full time after big carries by Kevon Williams and Matai Leuta.