The U.S.A. Eagles opened their 2014 campaign with a 37-29 loss to Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup at the StubHub Center on Saturday.  Blaine Scully scored 3 tries in the losing effort.

“The performance was miles above last week’s,” Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin said after the match. “I think we take that positive out of the game. We had gaps where we let them have a lot of momentum.”

“We knew that was an area we had to shut down. We couldn’t let them get periods of continuity and that’s what they did right out of the gate in the second half. But the guys responded well, they didn’t back down until the 80th minute. They were aggressive. Now we just have to make it a consistent 80 minutes.”

The back-and-forth match was tied at 17 at the break but a fast start to the second half helped Japan to the win.  The visitors jumped to a 32-17 advantage and held on for the win.

The USA returns to action on Saturday against Canada at the New Bonney Field in Sacramento.