Christen Press scored three goals to lead the United States women’s national soccer team to an 8-1 victory over Romania Thursday evening at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, in the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
Playing around the corner from where she won the 2010 Hermann Trophy while competing for Stanford University, Press showed she felt right at home, opening scoring in the eighth minute with a one-time left-footed volley on a feed from Crystal Dunn.
Aggressive play from the Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, kept the ball in the U.S. attacking third, creating ample opportunity to put pressure on Romanian goalkeeper Roxana Oprea. Three-time Olympian Tobin Heath doubled the lead in the 10th minute on a blast from the left side, then Morgan Brian pushed the margin to 3-0 with a diving header on a set piece created when Dunn was fouled along the goal line outside the right edge of the penalty area.
Ranked No. 36 in the world, Romania found its lone goal in the 31st minute on a surprise counter when Laura Rus sprinted onto a long ball and caught U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris 30 yards off her line. A quick move around Harris left Rus with an empty net to fill, which she did to make the score 3-1.
Press completed her hat trick with two quick goals to close out the half, one in the 35th minute as she powered home a rebound and another three minutes later from inside the six-yard box for a 5-1 halftime lead.
Alex Morgan, who played college soccer at nearby Cal-Berkeley, joined the scoring in the 52nd minute, then added another in the 75th when she volleyed a loose ball over her right shoulder and into the net. It was her 17th goal of 2016, tying her with Carli Lloyd for team leadership. The two-time Olympian could have been the second U.S. player to tally a hat trick, but Oprea made a diving save on Morgan’s penalty kick attempt in the 64th minute. An own goal off the foot of Romania’s Maria Ficzay in the 90th minute closed out the scoring.
The two teams meet again at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, to close out the 2016 season.