The USA ran out comfortable winners against Wales in Wrexham, beating the Rugby League World Cup 2013 co-hosts 24-16 to extend their impressive recent winning run.
NRL player Clint Newton bagged two tries, with one each from Matthew Petersen, Tuisegasega Samoa and fellow NRL star Joseph Paulo to highlight the Tomahawks as one of the form teams in the tournament.
They had to survive a late charge from the Welsh, who scored two tries to give the score line a look of respectability, but they were left to rue a number of earlier mistakes.
The sides were coming into this match on the back of opposite results, with Wales looking to bounce back from an opening-day defeat to Italy in Cardiff, while the USA were keen to continue the form which had seen them beat France in their RWLC2013 warm-up and the Cook Islands in Bristol, in their first ever World Cup fixture.
It was evident from the first minute that this was going to be a physical game, with each pack boasting some huge individuals. As they tested each other out in the opening minutes, Wales piled on the pressure and the USA were forced into some desperate defending.
In the eighth minute Wales, buoyed by a vociferous local backing, pinned the USA back on their goal line, as first Larne Patrick and Tyson Frizell were held up inches short by a stretched Tomahawk defence.
Yet it was the visitors themselves who should have had the first score of the match. After some neat build-up, the USA worked the ball to the right wing, where Bureta Faraimo had the line at his mercy but the pass from Taylor Welch never found him.
They were instantly made to pay as Wales, attacking down the left, showed how to finish. Rhys Williams broke through and offloaded to the overlapping Christiaan Roets who crossed in the corner.
However, they could not hold on to their four point lead for long. Winning a penalty deep in Welsh territory, USA captain and Parramatta Eels star Paulo found some space and put Newton over.
They increased their lead just after half-an-hour as Petersen, who won the penalty which resulted in the USA’s first try, finished a right-to-left move in the corner for the Tomahawks, who were starting to find their feet in the sunny, but blustery, Wrexham conditions.
Wales dominated the early part of the second half as Iestyn Harris’s side looked for their second try, but they came up against a determined Tomahawks defence, who survived repeat sets before eventually clearing their line.
It got worse for the Welsh when Rhys Evans spilled a bomb under his own posts with the ball eventually finding one of three free USA shirts on the left. It was a simple task for captain Paulo to touch down his side’s third try.
Just minutes later the Tomahawks crossed for their fourth touchdown to all but ensure a third consecutive victory, Samoa wriggling through a number of tacklers to place the ball over the line. The score was confirmed by the video referee and Paulo converted his first goal of the afternoon to stretch their lead.
Errors had started to creep into the Welsh play, and they were made to pay again when captain Crag Kopczak lost the ball and Newton ran in his second try,.
With time running out Wales finally stirred themselves. Elliot Kear broke through and fed Roets for his second try of the afternoon before Anthony Walker came off the bench to score with little over two minutes remaining. But it was too little too late for Wales, who have to pick themselves up for their final group game.
1 Rhys Evans
2 Elliot Kear
3 Ian Webster
4 Christiaan Roets
5 Rhys Williams
6 Lloyd White
7 Matt Seamark
8 Craig Kopczak
9 Neil Budworth
10 Jordan James
11 Larne Patrick
12 Tyson Frizell
13 Ben Flower
14 Gil Dudson
15 Ben Evans
16 Peter Lupton
17 Anthony Walker
1 Kristian Freed
2 Bureta Faraimo
3 Lelauloto Tagaloa
4 Taylor Welch
5 Matthew Petersen
6 Joseph Paulo
7 Craig Priestly
8 Mark Offerdahl
9 Haveatama Luani
10 Eddy Pettybourne
11 Clint Newton
12 Matthew Shipway
13 Daniel Howard
14 Tuisegasega Samoa
15 Roman Hifo
16 Judah Lavulo
17 Les Soloai
Wales: Tries: Roets (2) Walker Goals: White (2)
USA: Tries: Newton (2), Petersen, Paulo, Samoa Goals: Paulo (2)
Referee: Ben Cummins
Touch judges: Clint Sharrad and Joseph Cobb
Video referee: Phil Bentham