Date: Monday - 02.19.18
FULLERTON, CA - The weather and crowd could not have been better here in Southern California as the Men's Eagles completed their 3-0 home series sweep at Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton today. With a handful of veterans departing to their clubs after the win over Canada, some new faces were able to make an impression with Head Coach Gary Gold, and did they ever. Dylan Audsley, Malon Al-Jiboori and Paul Lasike all tallied their first international tries.
The team will now begin their pair of away matches in São Paulo, Brazil. The match kicked of with some excitement as Cam Dolan looked to mark the score sheet in the first few seconds. Collecting the kick on the left flank, Dolan all of a sudden had space but fumbled the ball as he dashed for the line. A few smiles later, both teams reset and the game resumed.
Newly appointed Captain, Nate Augspurger, did however get the tally started early in the 4th minute after a beautiful dish from Ryan Matyas. Sleek play pieced together the first 5 points in what played out to be a highlight reel try. Minutes past by with back and fourth play, but fresh face Psalm Wooching really stood out to on lookers as he powered through Chilean tackles. Wooching was on the pitch collecting his first cap and one could easily tell from his energy. The former University of Washington football star showed exactly what breakthrough power he can afford this US team.
New names continued to headline the match as Dylan Audsley, fresh off his first cap in Sacramento, notched his first career try as an Eagle. Will Magie looked to have the points himself, but was pulled down before the line. Lock Nate Brakeley was then able to flip from his knees, find Audsley and give the kid something to celebrate... his first international try. US lead 10-0.
Chile would put their first points on the board in the 27th minute with a penalty kick from Tomas Ianiszewski, as the game went into halftime. Given the quick start and US strengths, Head Coach Gary Gold might have hoped for a more demanding lead at this point. In need of a strong second half, the Eagles did just that, and in under a minute. Josh Whippy with the heads up play, recognizing Chile had touched the ball as it dribbled over the line, immediately pitched in to Brakeley who began the progression out to Matyas. After a few more creative passes, Audsley again was able to dot down for 5. Captain Nate Augsspurger on coming out strong from the half, "We'll be hard on ourselves tomorrow, but the boys will enjoy this win and enjoy us coming out and putting together a strong second half performance that is more like us." "Pop the champagne, I'm gonna lose my voice!" shouted game Rugby Channel commentator Dallen Stanford, as the Eagles built on their lead to go ahead 17-3. In need of some daylight, Chile was able to stop the bleeding and send Tomas Dussaillant in for points. The ensuing conversion would fly wide however, US lead cut to 24-8. Fast forward a bit, but not too fast to miss a collection of tries from veterans Mike Te'o and Bryce Campbell, the debutant names again made The Rugby Channel broadcast.
Malon Al-Jiboori subbed on for Tony Lamborn in the 62nd minute. In what seemed like a span of only seconds, Al-Jiboori was able to bring in the ball for his first touch and dot down himself. To recount, that's Malon Al-Jiboori's first cap, first touch, and first try in a matter of 120 seconds. Don't blink now young man, it all can happen fast!
Also making their Eagles debut in Fullerton was Ruben de Haas and Dylan Fawsitt. Fawsitt has been an exciting prospect in the player pool for sometime while de Haas earns his first cap after an impressive Americas Pacific Challenge with the USA Men's Selects. Eagles now with a comfortable 38-8 lead with 10 minutes past in the second half. While the game seemed to be in hand with a fair amount of time left, the storyline still had another chapter in the form of Paul Lasike. The former Chicago Bear fullback followed pace with Audsley and Al-Jiboori to notch his first try with nearly a minute left on the clock. That try would seal it as the Men's Eagles go on to win, 45-13. When asked about the showcase of new talent, Head Coach Gary Gold noted, "It was brilliant to see the impact and energy each one of our new guys brought to the match. Each one of our subs made a difference when kicking off the second half."
The Men's Eagles continue on to Brazil as the away portion of the Americas Rugby Championship begins, but Gold recognizes the value of a 3-0 start at home. Today also marks the final home match until the team returns to the US this June at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver for the Emirates Airline Summer Series. "Three very important wins, particularly at home." continued Gold, "We still feel there is a lot of room to improve, but the exciting part is we still have two games to play."
Read more at https://www.usarugby.org/match/35983-usa-eagles-v-chile/?F8dEyFYKqmc2HHhr.99