Friday, February 2, 2018

Hamilton 7s: Baker Magic Puts U.S. Over Canada

A piece of magic from Perry Baker was the spark that ignited the fire of the resistance in the Eagles as they came from behind to beat Canada 28-14 in their opening match at the Hamilton 7s. As mentioned, the Eagles fell early as Nathan Hirayama did very well to chip ahead and recover. It all started when the U.S. couldn't claim the restart and Canada executed well. When they had the ball the Eagles didn't help themselves as they had several balls go to ground. The penalties would stack up as well leading to Canada's second try when John Moonlight took a quick tap and went 22 meters for the score. In control Canada led 14-0.

Then it was Perry Baker's turn. The U.S. was finally able to win the ball back (possibly on the edges of the law but it counts). With that possession they were finally able to find Baker in space where he beat the defense and was in for the score. With that try he equaled Zack Test's all-time record for the Eagles. At half it was 14-7 to Canada.

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The Eagles opened up the second half in style as fantastic passing, including an offload from Danny Barrett, saw Maka Unufe go under the posts. Canada were then shown a yellow card for knocking the ball down. Up a man the U.S. stayed patient and soon earned a try. What a try it was. Baker found himself cornered near the touchline but a couple of pirouettes and eluded tackles later Baker was in for what could be one of the tries of the year. It also puts him at the top of the all-time list for the Eagles.

Energized by the three straight tries the defensive effort improved and the U.S. looked like the team that made it to the semi-finals last week. Martin Iosefo scored a final try for the Eagles.

Up next is Samoa. A win could put the Eagles back into the top eight. 

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