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USA Men Do Just Enough on Day 1 in Seville

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USA Men Do Just Enough on Day 1 in Seville

Captain Kevon Williams scored twice and started the move for the game-winner. Martin Seras Lima photo.

The USA Men’s 7s team just, barely, got by a tenacious Spain to virtually assure a Cup Quarterfinal spot at the World Series 7s in Seville, Spain.

The reason this one victory likely gets the Eagles into the quarterfinals is because Samoa was unable to compete, making every fixture against Samoa a forfeit. So Spain, South Africa, and the USA all started with a win in their pocket.

So on to the game. The Eagles started off really well. They played tenacious and patient defense and and eventually a strong tackle from Maceo Brown helped for the ball loose. Perry Baker picked it up, looked a little surprised that he had it, and then took off. Try. Conversions. 7-0.

But the USA restart was no ten maters, giving Spain another shot at a possession. Once again defensive pressure forced a turnover, and then Kevon Williams faked a short ball to Brown and curved around and up through the middle. 14-0 USA.

The Eagles seemed in control, but they then seemed to let up a little bit. Failure to shadow Tobias Sainz-Trapaga allowed the big Spanish forward to tap on a penalty and get up a head of steam. Then some really poor tackle attempts gave him the space he needed to score from long range. 14-7.

With time up in the first half the Eagles took a scrum on a penalty, but a poor pass from Williams and then a poor penalty from Brown gave Spain the ball back. They worked it down the sideline, broke a tackle, and Eduardo Lopez at the corner. At the corner was important, as Spain missed the conversion and it was 14-12 at the break.

The Eagles picked it up in the second half, and looked set to work their way down to score, but more mistakes and penalties gave Spain another chance. But, finally, the USA team got the ball back, Carlin Isles was bottled up and ran back inside and re-set an attack that allowed Williams to burst up the middle. Stephen Tomasin was good on his third conversion and it was 21-12 USA. 

Back came Spain. They worked the ball well for a nicely-taken try for Josep Serres. And then they retained the restart and got right back at it, with Sainz-Trapaga again exposing some weak tackling to charge in.

With time almost up Spain now led 26-21. The Eagles had one more shot.

Stuck in their own 22, the USA players tried to put Baker through on the left. He was stopped but that opened up a little space on the right. That was covered, which of course meant there might be space up the middle.

Williams cut through, was ankle-tapped to the ground but popped to Brown who was in support. Brown quickly saw Isles on his left and fed the speedster for a long run in. 26-26. No one tried to stop Isles from touching down under the posts, and Tomasin had an easy kick to seal the 28-26 victory.

It was very good at times from the USA, and very poor at other times. Their organized defense was good, but in broken field, they fell off tackles, especially from big men.

Still, in very dramatic style, they did what was needed and pulled out a victory.

Next up will be South Africa at 10:25AM ET on Saturday, giving the Americans about 24 hours to contemplate this game and how they want to deal with a white hot Blitzbokke team.

USA 28
Tries: Baker, Williams 2, Isles
Convs: Tomasin 4

Spain 26
Tries: Sainz-Trapaga 2, Lopez, Serres
Convs: Ramos, Martinez 2