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Press’ hat trick lifts USWNT to 8-1 win over Romania

Christen Press scored a hat trick on Thursday against Romania. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Christen Press scored a hat trick on Thursday against Romania. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Christen Press scored a first-half hat trick as the United States women’s national team defeated Romania, 8-1 on Saturday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

Press opened the scoring in the 8th minute on a stunning strike and then scored twice in three minutes just before halftime to complete her haul. She was replaced by Alex Morgan at halftime.

Morgan scored twice in her 45 minutes of play, but was denied from the penalty spot by Romania goalkeeper Roxana Oprea in the 64th minute. Morgan Brian also scored on a diving header in the first half, and Tobin Heath netted a stunning tally two minutes after Press’ opener. Heath also created the eighth goal — officially recorded as an own goal via Heath’s shot — in second-half stoppage time.

The hat trick was the fourth of Press’ international career and brings her to 40 in 79 games, putting her average at just over a goal every other game.

Romania’s loan goal came in the 31st minute, when the U.S. back line was caught too high up the field and Laura Rus got in behind. U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was caught in no-man’s land, some 40 yards from goal, and couldn’t stop Rus from scoring on an empty net.

Jessica McDonald made her international debut, entering the match in the second half in place of Western New York Flash teammate Lynn Williams.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis lined up in a 3-4-3 formation on Thursday, with Allie Long at center back again, an experiment Ellis began last month. Stanford University junior Andi Sullivan sat in front of the back three, with Brian in front of her an then…well, then, it at times looked like a five-woman back line. Heath and Kealia Ohai occupied the widest morsels of the flanks, but Crystal Dunn and Lynn Williams were also there as Press stayed central.

WATCH THE GOALS

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