USWNT score early, often in 8-1 rout of Romania

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by TOM SLATER

They came in waves early and just kept coming. And coming. And coming.

Led by a Christen Press first-half hat trick, the United States attacked quickly and never stopped in beating Romania, 8-1, in San Jose Thursday night.

All night the Americans kept sending players forward in droves. Combined with a Romanian side that had trouble marking, the result was goals by the bushel.

Twice Press cleaned up balls that were loose in the box and converted them into goals as the United States kept its unbeaten streak in 2016 alive with easy victory.

Press, who played collegiately in nearby Stanford, began the scoring in the 8th minute taking advantage of a mis-directed trap from teammate Crystal Dunn in the penalty area and clinically finished to start the onslaught.

In the 35th minute, she slammed home the rebound of a Lynn Williams shot that was blocked by a Romanian defender. The play was started when Tobin Heath beat a pair of Romanians off the dribbled before sending in Dunn on the right side. Dunn served the ball into the box where Williams got the shot off that rebounded off the defender and fell to Press’ feet.

Three minutes later, she completed her fourth international hat trick as she finished a quick but deadly piece of possession by the Americans. Casey Short, playing out of right back, sent a ball into Morgan Brian who served in front of the net to a wide open Press.

Earlier, Heath scored in the 10th minute off a pass from Press. Heath struck a well-placed left-footer in the upper far corner. Brian added a goal when she headed in a free kick from Andi Sulivan.

Romania got one back when the Americans three-player backline got caught ball-watching and allowed Laura Rus to slip in between the defense. Teammate Stefania Vetafu found Rus behind Allie Long and sent her in just beyond the midfield circle. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made a tactical error by coming way off her line to cut off the attack but couldn’t beat Rus to the ball. The Romanian striker easily got the ball first, slid by Harris and slotted the ball into an empty net.

That cut the lead to 3-1 before Press finished her hat trick.

In the second half, the United States continued their scoring dominance. Dunn foind Alex Morgan, a second-half substitute, for a header in the 52nd minute.

In the 62nd minute, Long went forward and was fouled in the box. Morgan took the penalty and hit it hard and to the right but goalkeeper Roxana Oprea dived to her left to parry it away.

Morgan got her brace in the 72nd minute when Dunn served a ball on the right wing that Oprea got a hand on but couldn’t hit far enough away. Morgan easily cleaned it up for a 7-1 lead. Heath banged a ball off a Romanian defender in stoppage time for the 8-1 final.

The United States will finish the 2016 calendar year when the two teams meet again Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports1).