The United States gave up 15 points on penalties and could not stop the hard running Samoans from scoring two tries as the Pacific Island nation won 25-16 in the first Rugby World Cup match for both teams.
Captain Chris Wyles and substitute Chris Bauman scored tries (worth five points each) for the U.S. Eagles, and Al MacGinty put through two penalty kicks while missing two conversions.
Less than 10 minutes into the game, the U.S. side gave up their first penalty and Samoa went up 3-0 on the kick by Tusi Pisi.
Pisi’s kicking skill would figure in the next score as Samoa won the ball from a loose ruck and took the ball to the weak side with Pisi kicking ahead to the back corner of the try zone where the ball was downed by Joe Tekori for five points.
Pisi missed the conversion but would add two more penalty kicks before the half when U.S. players were called for not releasing the ball in loose play and then for playing a man without the ball.
The Eagle best moment in the first half came with 10 minutes left as their forwards stole a Samoan lineout, had the ball out to the backs, who went 70 yards and several passes before Wyles touched down for the try.
MacGinty missed the conversion kick but was perfect on a penalty kick two minutes later. The half ended with Samoa leading 14-8.
With less than 10 minutes to go in the match, the Eagle forwards had controlled the ball for several phases on the Samoan try line before Bauman picked up the ball on the right side of the ruck and dived over for the try.
Titi Lamositele of Bellingham played in his first Rugby World Cup game Sunday and was replaced late in the second half by Olive Kilifi of the Seattle Saracens.
The game was played at Amex Brighton Community Stadium in Brighton, England. The United States faces Scotland next Sunday in Leeds, England.