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Martin Iosefo in his debutant tournament against Kenya. Martin Seras Lima photo

With Perry Baker lost for the tournament, Team USA couldn’t keep pace with Kenya’s firepower, falling 33-14. The Eagles were in it midway through the second half, but the bounce of the ball put momentum heavily in Kenya’s favor toward the end. The loss drops the Eagles to 1-2 through pool play and relegates them to the bottom eight for bracket play. This is just the third time this season the Eagles have missed the quarterfinals. 

Kenya struck first in the third minute through Willie Ambaka. He got the ball on the wing outside Danny Barrett, deked inside, and then accelerated past the big man, using a stiff-arm to maintain separation and score in the corner. The conversion was no good.

It was a strong fend that saw Kenya extend the lead. Samuel Oliech got the ball in the midfield off an attacking lineout, thanks to an American penalty, and put Stephen Tomasin on his backside en route to pay dirt, giving Kenya a 12-0 advantage heading into halftime.

The Americans got on the board first in the second stanza. Carlin Isles pulled out on one touchline and shipped it to the other, where Ben Pinkelman drew the attention of his opposite and offloaded to Kevon Williams from the deck. He took it in, rounding the posts and diving for the score. The conversion was good, and the Eagles trailed 12-7 with five minutes to play.

Oliech scored his second try to make it a two-score game again, this time grubbering and gathering on his own, scoring right under the posts. For good measure, Oliech slotted the conversion, too.

Kenya missed an obvious forward pass amidst a series of offloads, leading to the death knell. Chris Mattina was caught pulling the ball out of a defensive ruck too slowly, got smashed, and Kenya went the other way. The score put the Kenyans 19 points clear with less than 90 seconds to play. Oscar Ouma added one more before the death.