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Team USA earned its eighth-straight Cup Quarterfinal berth with a 17-12 defeat of England Saturday at BC Place in Vancouver. Tied 7-7 at halftime, the Americans pulled away with back-to-back tries in the second half before England scored an inconsequential try at the death.
Perry Baker scored twice, running his Vancouver tally to four through two games. Up next for the USA is New Zealand in the pool decider. The All Blacks are also 2-0 heading into the contest. The winner will likely play Fiji at 2:08 p.m. ET Sunday, and the loser will probably draw Samoa at 2:30.
The Eagles won the opening restart through Martin Iosefo, and they managed several phases, but the English defense held shape. Eventually, Danny Barrett threw a forward pass, giving England the ball in the attacking half.
Barrett earned it back, though, via an English penalty for holding on in a tackle. Another English penalty opened the door for Iosefo, who took a hard, tight line off a tackle for the score. A second score then evaded the USA when Baker knocked on a Madison Hughes grubber. Had he caught it clean, he would have been in for the try.
At the end of the half England drew level through Dan Norton. Baker was lured in by the prospect of an interception, and a cut-out pass floated over his head and into Norton's hands. Both tries converted, the game was tied 7-7 at the break.
Baker accounted for the mistake with the first score of the second half. The USA won a scrum on the left side of the field and shifted to the right where Baker outstrided Norton. He then iced the game in the final minute, again eating up space created by a bashing forward run on the opposite touch line. England managed a moot try at the death.