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Carlin Isles turning the corner on Scotland. Martin Seras Lima photo

The United States started shaky in Hong Kong, but erased a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Kenya 21-14 and open its account 1-0. Kenya starved the Eagles of possession in the opening seven minutes, but the Americans made the comeback look easy after the break.

Kenya had ascendency in the restarts early on, which led to Collins Injera opening scoring by slicing past Perry Baker, who was late coming up in the line and over-ran his opposition in trying to catch up. The score was converted, and Kenya led 7-0.

The Eagles didn’t get any sort of possession until four minutes had elapsed and Kenya threw a forward pass. Not long after, Perry Baker knocked on an offload from Zack Test, giving the ball back to Kenya. The Eagles then played about two minutes of really solid defense before a penalty opened the door for another converted Kenyan try right on halftime. Kenya led 14-0 at the break.

The USA finally won a restart and went through a couple of phases at the onset of the second half. The result was a Maka Unufe try. He simply ran too fast just off his opposite to be reined in. Madison Hughes converted, and the lead was cut to 14-7.

Carlin Isles, who came on for Baker at halftime, scored the leveling try a couple of minutes later. The Kenya defense respected his speed and covered the perimeter, leaving enough room just inside the wing for Isles to speed through. Converted, the try made it 14-14 with three minutes to go.

The Eagles took their first lead of the half right after the kickoff. Andrew Durutalo’s work at the breakdown earned the USA a penalty and possession, and Kenya simply didn’t transition to defense fast enough to stop Danny Barrett on the wing. Hughes converted, and the USA led 21-14.

Kenya wouldn’t bow out quietly. The USA had an attacking penalty in the last minute, but lost the lineout after opting for touch. Kenya went through several phases and crossed midfield before the Americans earned a penalty on the other end, allowing them to put the ball into touch and steal the win.

Up next for the USA at 10:34 p.m. ET is Wales. The Eagles are 1-0 against Wales this season. In local time, the match will be the USA’s first of day two. England awaits the Eagles at 4:42 a.m. ET.