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Argentina’s converted try at the death with just six men on the field ended Team USA’s eight-game winning streak on home soil, as the Eagles fell 26-24 Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. They led by 12 at halftime and the entire match until full time.
The Eagles are now 1-1 in Pool B. In order to advance to a seventh-consecutive quarterfinal, they’ll need to beat France, also 1-1 Saturday. If they do, they’ll finish second in the pool and likely see the winner of South Africa versus England, the Pool C decider.
Carlin Isles scored on his first touch of the game, finishing a set-piece move off an attacking lineout. Argentina picked up its first of two yellow cards when Ben Pinkelman was dump tackled, and Martin Iosefo dotted down the USA’s second try in short order. Only one was converted, putting the Eagles up 12-0.
Argentina got on the board when Isles was pinged for a dangerous tackle. He struggled to bring down his opposite efficiently, and eventually had to go high to bring him to ground. The conversion cut the lead to five.
Stephen Tomasin got the score right back seconds later. Iosefo won the kickoff, and when Folau Niua went right, Tomasin switched behind him left, shucking one defender before cutting up the middle of the field for a try. The conversion made it 19-7 at intermission.
Argentina scored first to start the second stanza, darting up the weakside of an attacking ruck untouched. The Pumas doubled up by beating Niua to the inside and fending Pinkelman en route to the tying try.
The home team delivered the ideal response, caught a lucky break, and followed up with a catastrophic mistake. Tomasin secured possession off the bobbled kickoff, and Maceo Brown slipped an offload to Isles, who outran the Pumas for his second score of the game.
A second missed conversion saw the USA re-establish a one-score lead, but a late tackle on Isles after the score meant the Eagles would be finish the game with one more player than Argentina. With just over 90 seconds left, the Eagles opted to toe through the penalty instead of kicking for an attacking lineout that would have melted time off the clock.
On the second phase of the possession, Kevon Williams threw a forward pass meant for Isles into touch. A penalty deep in the American end helped Argentina score the tying try just to the left of the uprights. The walk-off conversion sent the USA to 1-1.