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Ian Muir photo

Team USA’s poor start continued in an altogether uncompetitive 26-12 loss to Samoa Friday in Dubai. The loss drops the Eagles to 0-2, guaranteeing them a trip to the bottom eight on day two. The final pool match is against New Zealand at 9:22 a.m. ET.

Martin Iosefo took the opening restart, and Carlin Isles sniped off the ensuing ruck. He looked to be away, but the last Samoan defender took a good angle, and Isles was isolated, turning the ball over in the tackle. Samoa quickly went the other way, and Joe Perez carried the ball untouched through the broken American defense. The conversion was successful, 7-0.

The Eagles lost the ball in their next breakdown, too. This time it was Pinkelman making a break and Isles in support, but he failed to clear the tackler from the area, resulting in a penalty. Samoa opted for the lineout, and Danny Barrett was penalized for pulling on the arm of his opposite while in the air. Luckily for the USA, Samoa passed the ball into touch on the opposite sideline.

The Eagles didn’t connect on the lineout throw, setting Samoa free the other way. Tila Mealoi did the dotting down this time, with Perez setting it up off a switch.

Fortune swung the USA’s way on the next possession. An offload from Barrett intended for Tomasin was bobbled twice, and Madison Hughes snatched it. The referee said the bobbles were backwards, and Barrett would score in support of the captain.

The restart wouldn’t make it 10 meters, resulting in a free kick for Samoa with no time left. Isles put in a tackle and Niua contested the ball in the breakdown, resulting in a knock-on and the end of the half.

The Americans went on the offensive first in the second half, with Barrett charging to within five meters of pay dirt, but Maka Unufe failed to clear out this time, drawing a penalty that would let Samoa off the hook.

On that possession, the break was made again by Perez. Pinkelman and Folau Niua both whiffed on the tackle that could have stopped him. With the conversion, the Eagles trailed 19-7. The pattern continued – American breakdown penalty, Samoan try, purring the game out of reach. Maka Unufe would score a meaningless try before the final whistle.