American men do just enough on Day 1 in Seville

The United States men’s 7-a-side team just beat a tenacious Spain to virtually secure a place in the quarter-finals of the 7-a-side World Cup in Seville, Spain.

The reason why this single victory probably puts the Eagles in the quarter-finals is because Samoa were unable to compete, making every game against Samoa a forfeit. Thus, Spain, South Africa and the United States all started with a victory in their pocket.

So let’s get to the game. The Eagles started very well. They played tenacious and patient defense and eventually a solid tackle from Maceo Brown helped clear the ball. Perry Baker picked it up, looked a little surprised he had it, then walked away. To try. Conversions. 7-0.

But the USA restart was not ten maters, giving Spain another shot at possession. Once again defensive pressure forced a turnover, then Kevon Williams faked a short ball to Brown and curled around and up through the middle. 14-0 USA.

The Eagles seemed in control, but then seemed to let go a bit. Failing to follow Tobias Sainz-Trapaga allowed the tall Spanish striker to kick in a penalty and let off steam. Then a couple of really bad tackle attempts gave him the space he needed to score from long range. 14-7.

With time running out in the first half, the Eagles were scrambled for a penalty, but a poor pass from Williams and then a poor penalty from Brown returned the ball to Spain. They worked it on the sideline, broke a tackle and Eduardo Lopez on the corner. The corner was important, as Spain missed the conversion and it was 14-12 at the break.

The Eagles took it over in the second half and looked set to progress to score, but more errors and penalties gave Spain another chance. But, eventually Team USA got the ball back, Carlin Isles was bottled up and ran inside and reset an attack that allowed Williams to burst through the middle. Stephen Tomasin was good on his third conversion and it was 21-12 USA.

Spain is back. They worked the ball well for a successful try from Josep Serres. And then they held on to the restart and got right back into it, Sainz-Trapaga again exposing some weak tackles to charge.

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

Stuck in their own 22, the American players tried to push Baker down the left. He was stopped but it opened up a small gap to the right. It was covered, which of course meant there could be space in the middle.

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

It was very good at times from the US and very poor at other times. Their organized defense was good, but in rough terrain they fell on tackles, especially from the big men.

Yet, in very dramatic style, they did what was necessary and achieved a victory.

Next up will be South Africa at 10:25 a.m. ET on Saturday, giving Americans around 24 hours to contemplate this game and how they want to face a white-hot Blitzbokke team.

United States 28
Trials: Baker, Williams 2, Isles
Conv. : Tomasin 4

Spain 26
Tests: Sainz-Trapaga 2, Lopez, Serres
Conversations: Ramos, Martinez 2

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