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USA Women 0-2 in Brazil

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USA Women 0-2 in Brazil

Vix Folayan has been relatively quiet during the first two rounds of the Sao Paulo 7s. (Ian Muir photo)

Optimism prevailed when the USA Women 7s team scored during the opening 30 seconds against France, but momentum never realized itself. The teams scored two tries apiece in the second round of the Sao Paulo 7s, but two conversions from Christelle Le Duff gave France the necessary margin of victory, 14-12.

Katie Johnson sent the opening kickoff deep into French territory, and Lauren Doyle made the tackle quickly. Vix Folayan was also quick to scene, and her pressure forced the French ballcarrier to hold onto the ball and draw a penalty. Kelly Griffin quick-tapped and crossed the line easily, 5-0.

After the restart, France moved the ball downfield and was aided by a couple of USA penalties. Folayan broke up a pass near her 22 meter, and it was deemed a deliberate knock-on and yellow card. With the player advantage, France scored immediately from the tap, as Marjorie Mayans through a dummy pass and skirted through the defense. Le Duff's conversion made it 7-5.

The USA offense seemed flat - both in creativity and spirit. There were picks off of the tackle, with no peek over the shoulder for a possible offload to keep the ball alive; from a lineout, center Jessica Javelet was wrapped up by three defenders while two teammates watched on; Javelet and Folayan were unable to get into space. France wasn't particularly inspiring either, and they lacked the flair that helped them to a fourth-place finish in Dubai.

In the second half, France extended its lead, sending a penalty kick deep into USA territory. The lineout ball worked to Caroline Ladagnous on the wing, and Folayan fell off of the tackle. Le Duff slotted the difficult conversion, happy with the two-score lead, 14-5.

With time ticking off the clock, Kristen Thomas injected some hope into the Eagles. From the subsequent kickoff, the ball moved to the 7s newcomer, and with Folayan outside of her, she had a go of it. She made the corner and legged out the sideline for the centered try, which Alev Kelter converted, 14-12.

There was about a minute left to play, but that was plenty of time to get another try on the board. The USA had a couple of opportunities - a France lineout deep in its own territory (ended in a penalty and France breakaway), and a midfield scrum off which to build. During the latter movement, Thomas and Folayan looked like they could cause some trouble on the sideline, but Folayan was pushed into touch and a previous knock-on called for a France scrum. There was no time on the clock, so France to kicked to touch for the win.

The USA is now 0-2 and must defeat Spain, also winless, for a look at the Cup round. Two of the three pools will send their #3 teams to Cup playoffs, and that determination will come down to point differential. The USA and Spain play at 2:34 p.m. ET.