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Small Moments and USA Finishes 13th

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Small Moments and USA Finishes 13th

David Still on his way. David Barpal photo.

In the end, the USA finished 13th at the LA 7s.

That's 3-3, but the three losses came at bad times. Whether Day One has been good or not, your first game on Day Two has to be a good one. It wasn't for the Eagles and they lost to Spain.

We detail much of what went wrong in that game here:

Not Good Enough; Eagles Slip in LA Mud

In the 13th-place final, the Eagles handled Japan 31-7. It wasn't perfect—that one try still exposed too much ruck-watching—but it was solid. David Still was set up nicely to score early, and Marcus Tupuola stole the ball out of a Japanese pair of hands and rambled 50 meters before Japan got on the scoreboard.

It was 14-7 at halftime and in the second half some good team interplay put Perry Baker through, and late tries from Adam Channel and Gaban D'Amore (who was the hero in the USA's last-breath win over Chile) finished it off.

But finishing 13th is bad because of the points they get—three points—in the standings. After being #2 in the World Series, the Eagles have slipped now to 8th, with Ireland's 7th-place finish enough to put them right behind the USA by a point Australia moves ahead and in fact every team ahead of the USA has garnered some separation. If they want to get to the top four now, the Eagles have to jump past four teams.

And whereas before LA the Eagles were two points out of fourth, now they are more like 13 points away. 

It all came down to a poor start against Samoa. And then, when their comeback was almost complete at 21-19, three players went up for Stephen Tomasin's kickoff; not one player secured the ball and in fact they all took themselves out of the play. The ball landed in Taunuu Niulevaea's hands and he charged off. Tomasin tackled the Samoan but the offload fell to Tuna Tuitama and that as they say, was that.

That failed restart put the Eagles behind the eightball. It made them impatient and desperate against Chile and unimaginative as well as slow to support against Spain.

Win that restart, score, beat Samoa, and the entire complexion of the tournament changes—the USA remains in the hunt for the top four. Now? Now they need to be amazing in Vancouver.