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Hughes evading Wales. Martin Seras Lima photo

Team USA opened the 2016/2017 HSBC Sevens Wrold Series with a 14-5 defeat at the hands of Scotland Friday in Dubai. The Eagles didn't look sharp the entire contest, routinely racking up handling and passing errors on offense and penalties in defense. Nonetheless, they were in it until the final minutes. 

Scotland got on the board first via Scott Wight. The Scottish owned early possession and eventually wore down the American defense with a litany of attacking phases. The try was converted, making it 7-0.  

The USA then got on the attacking end for the first time in the match and had an opportunity with an offensive lineout. Madison Hughes hesitated on a pass to Perry Baker, resulting in a knock-on.  

The Eagles struggled to achieve any continuity in attack throughout the first half. They got another offensive lineout thanks to a penalty won by Danny Barrett, but a few phases in Hughes knocked it on in contact.

Indiscipline continued after the break, with Folau Niua being penalized early in the breakdown. It appeared to lead to a Scottish try, but Scott Riddell knocked on as he crossed the whitewash, giving the USA a much-needed break.

The Eagles then went the other direction via a line break from Maka Unufe. A couple of phases later, Barrett wiggled free for the USA's first score. Hughes' conversion missed, leaving Scotland up two.

The Scots retaliated quickly, largely thanks to a forward pass going uncalled. Reserve Joseva Nayacavou did the damage, centering the try. James Johnston slotted the conversion, establishing a two-score lead with too little time left for the Eagles to overcome. 

Up next for the USA is a clash with Uganda at 3:44 a.m. ET. The Eagles need a win to keep Cup Quarterfinal hopes alive. Pool play concludes at 9:06 a.m. against South Africa.