Press hat trick powers USA women to 8-1 rout of Romania

Forward Christian Press rang up a hat trick and several other veterans also scored as the USA women throttled Romania, 8-1, in the penultimate match of their 2016 season Thursday night in San Jose.

Press opened the scoring in the eighth minute and Tobin Heath tallied the first of her two goals two minutes later as the Americans assumed command against Romania, which is ranked 34th in the FIFA rankings and had never faced the USA in a women’s international. Following a  25th-minute strike from Morgan Brian, Press tacked on two more goals to notch her fourth U.S. hat trick and forge a 5-0 halftime lead.

Head coach Jill Ellis used five of her six permitted substitutions at halftime and continued her recent process of mixing veterans with newcomers.

One of the vets, Alex Morgan, scored twice as Press’s halftime replacement and also failed to convert a penalty kick. Heath tacked on the final goal in stoppage time.

Keilia Ohai, who scored less than a minute into her debut as a sub last month against Switzerland, earned her first USA start at right midfield. Lynn Williams, a scorer less than a minute after entering a game against the Swiss at the start of the second half, logged her second start. Jessica McDonald got her first cap as a sub and Stanford junior Andi Sullivan, the only collegian chosen for the two-game series, earned her second assist in three international appearances by serving up a free kick that Brian drove into the net with a spectacular diving header.

Five players in the squad -- including Ali Kreiger and Megan Rapinoe -- did not make the game-day roster. U.S. U-20 Mallory Pugh and her teammates are preparing for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that kicks off in Papua New Guinea next week. The USA women finish their 2016 schedule Sunday against Romania at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Nov. 10 in San Jose
USA 8 Romania 1. Goals: Press 8, 35, 38, Heath 10, 90+2, Brian 25, Morgan 52, 75; Rusell 31.
USA -- Harris; Long, Short, Sauerbrunn (Johnston, 46), Brian (Horan, 46), Sullivan (O’Hara, 61), Heath, Ohai (Mewis, 46), Williams (McDonald, 46), Press (Morgan, 46), Dunn.
Romania -- Oprea; Fizcay, Havristiuc (Meluda, 55), Gorea, Corduneanu (Batea, 66), Vatafu, Bortan, Sarghi (Giurgiu, 28, Rusell (Popa, 62), Voicu (Ciolacu, 62), Lunca (Carp, 81).
Att: 16,425.

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