The USA have quite simply the worst scrum of any of the nations likely to appear at the World Cup. It has been a long standing problem that just won't go away, will it force them into looking back into the foreign US eligible options ahead of the 2015 tournament?
As we saw in the recent matches with Uruguay, the scrum is still probably the biggest problem the USA face. Eric Fry and Nick Wallace can be handy in the loose, but struggle at scrum time. Olive Kilifi's solid first 50 in Montevideo was one of the few positives of the games, although he too tired and struggled when the opposition had fresh props. The other prop in the squad Titi Lamositele of Saracens is still only 19, and still has years of development ahead. The only prop outside of the squad Shawn Pittman is a slight improvement on some others mentioned but not great either.
On paper those are pretty weak options, but it's hard to see much else emerging before the World Cup. With the problems the scrum had against Uruguay, there may be a chance that USA Rugby may look again at the US eligible props from around the world.
Ulster's loosehead Callum Black was born in Washington DC and eligible, but keeping himself Irish eligible is key for him retain his contract the province where he gets a fair amount of game time as second choice behind Tom Court.
A player who was named in a USA squad in June 2012 but then turned down the chance to play for them for similar contract reasons is Dave Ryan of Zebre. However unlike Black, Ryan hasn't had a great time in Italy and may lose his place in the squad there anyway, so he may be more open to reconsider with the opportunity of a chance to play in a World Cup on the horizon. There's very little chance he will get to play in a World Cup with either Ireland or Italy.
And whilst Dave Ryan qualified for the USA through his mother, that also means that his brother Tim Ryan who is also a tighthead prop would be eligible. He is currently playing with Coventry in English National League 1, and has experience in the leagues of 5 of the 6 Nations countries.
It's important to emphasise the point that none of these props are great either, especially the Ryan brothers. The fact that Tim Ryan is now on his 5th club in 5 seasons, couldn't get a game at the Newport Gwent Dragons (one of the weakest scrummaging teams in Europe) and is best known for being on the receiving end of this scrum would all indicate that.
The Ryan brothers are dismal in the context of most nations, in fact they may not even be better at all than the current crop, but we're essentially only talking about stop gap options to widen the small pool coach Mike Tolkin has persevered with for the last year, and allow young Lamositele more time to develop instead of being forced to keep coming on when Wallace is carded and his team 5 metres from their line.
It may take far longer and a lot of hard work for the USA to see their scrum issues properly fixed, and it clearly is a big issue on evidence of the Uruguay games so stop gap measures as an attempt of awfulness limitation in the immediate future might be back on the table.
(Video: Uruguay's scrum was their main attacking threat over the two World Cup qualifying matches)
Update (09/04/2014): As was suspected, Dave Ryan has left Zebre. However he has now signed for Ulster, where he will probably be a back up option. That move pretty much wipes out any chance of him playing for the USA, like Callum Black, there is no chance that he could become a non-Irish qualified player and keep his contract with Ulster with his relatively low status of importance in the squad.