U.S. Soccer

WNT Caps Off Unbeaten 2016 with 5-0 Win vs. Romania

CARSON, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team finished strong in 2016 with a 5-0 win vs. Romania in front of 20,336 fans at StubHub Center.

With the win, the WNT completes 2016 with a 22-0-3 record, marking the third time the team has gone unbeaten in regulation in a calendar year in which it has played 10 or more matches. The USA went 18-0-4 in 2006 and 13-0-3 in 2013. The penalty kick loss to Sweden in the 2016 Olympics officially counts as a tie.

The U.S. dominated possession from start to finish and out-shot Romania 31-0, but it was Romania who put the ball into its net first via an own-goal from Teodora Meluta, who chested a Crystal Dunn cross into her own goal to give the USA a well-deserved lead into the 20th minute. Dunn got on the scoresheet herself in the final seconds of the first half with a crisp finish between the goalkeeper’s legs from 10 yards out.

Christen Press scored in her fourth consecutive game after finishing an excellent pass from Tobin Heath. Press’ tally marks her 41st career goal in her 80th cap.

Morgan Brian converted a penalty kick with ease in the 88th minute to mark her second goal in as many games and Samantha Mewis finished the scoring with a header from the top of the six-yard box in second half stoppage time.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Own Goal (Teodora Meluta) 20th minute:
Crystal Dunn dribbled down the right flank, held off a defender and sent a cross into the goal box where Romania defender Teodora Meluta chested the ball toward the net. Goalkeeper Roxana Oprea got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out of the goal. USA 1, ROU 0 WATCH

USA – Crystal Dunn (Christen Press) 45th minute: Christen Press settled a ball in the middle of the Romania half and found Dunn on a diagonal run into the right side of the penalty box. Dunn took two touches toward goal before sending a low right-footed shot between the ‘keeper’s legs and into the back of the net. USA 2, ROU 0 WATCH

USA – Christen Press (Tobin Heath) 55th minute: From the middle of the attacking third, Press sent a through ball on the ground to a charging Tobin Heath on her left. Heath used her first touch to cut the ball back to the crashing Press in the middle of the penalty area and she finished from about 14 yards out with a strong right-footed shot past Romania’s diving goalkeeper. USA 3, ROU 0 WATCH

USA – Morgan Brian (penalty kick) 88th minute: A Romania handball gifted the U.S. a penalty kick in the final minutes of the match. Morgan Brian stepped up to take the attempt, sending a driven shot to the left while the ‘keeper dove the opposite direction. USA 4, ROU 0 WATCH

USA – Samantha Mewis (Kelley O’Hara) 90+1’ minute: Heath played a short corner kick to Kelley O’Hara, who possessed the ball on the left flank. As a trio of Romanian defenders closed in, O’Hara sent an in-swinging cross to the middle of the box. Samantha Mewis met the ball at the top of the six-yard box and headed the ball inside the right post to complete the scoring. USA 5, ROU 0 WATCH FINAL

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Additional Notes:

  • The USA began the match in a 3-4-3 formation with Casey Short, Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn in the back, Andi Sullivan and Morgan Brian in the middle; Kealia Ohai and Tobin Heath on the wings; and Crystal Dunn, Lynn Williams and Christen Press up top.
  • Dunn’s goal was the 18th of her career goal, 14 of which came in 2016.
  • Her 14 goals scored are third on the team in 2016 behind Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan both of whom have 17.
  • Press found the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game. She scored 12 goals this year, including a hat trick last Thursday vs. Romania. Press improved her career total to 41 goals in 80 caps. She finishes fourth on the team in scoring for 2016.
  • Dunn and Press finished tied for the team lead with 25 appearances each this year.
  • After scoring her first goal of the year on Thursday, Morgan Brian converted a penalty kick in the 88th minute for her second goal in as many games and the sixth of her career.
  • Samantha Mewis’ goal was her fourth of the year and of her career.
  • Heath earned her eighth assist of 2016, good for second on the team behind Carli Lloyd (11).
  • Allie Long made her 14th start of 2016 and 16th appearance of the year. Since re-joining the WNT in April, she has more than quadrupled her career caps. Long came into this year with only four WNT appearances but with today’s start, she earned her 20th cap. She has three goals and two assists this year as well.
  • Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and Chicago Red Stars’ Casey Short both earned their fourth caps and fourth consecutive starts. Short has played all 90 minutes in the last three games.
  • Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher improved to 5-0-0 on the year with four shutouts.
  • The USA scored goals in the final seconds of both halves.
  • In the two games against Romania, the USA had a 61-4 edge in shots, 24-0 in corner kicks and piled up a 13-1 margin in goals.
  • Romania earned seven yellow cards over the two games, three in San Jose and four in Los Angeles, two of which came on nasty fouls on Alex Morgan.
  • U.S. head coach Jill Ellis used all six subs in the second half, sending on Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, and Julie Johnston at halftime, Lindsey Horan in the 61st minute, and Kelley O’Hara and Samantha Mewis in the 70th.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Romania Women’s National Team
Date: November 13, 2016
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
Attendance: 20,336
Weather: 71 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        2 3 5
ROU                        0 0 0

USA – Own Goal (Teodora Meluta)         20th minute
USA – Crystal Dunn (Christen Press)     45+1
USA – Christen Press (Tobin Heath)       55
USA – Morgan Brian (Penalty Kick)        88
USA – Samantha Mewis (Kelley O’Hara) 90+1

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) (5-Kelley O’Hara, 70), 20-Allie Long (3-Samantha Mewis, 70), 2-Casey Short (11-Ali Krieger, 46); 7-Kealia Ohai (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 12-Andi Sullivan, 6-Morgan Brian, 17-Tobin Heath; 19-Crystal Dunn (9-Lindsey Horan, 61), 16-Lynn Williams (8-Julie Johnston, 46), 23-Christen Press
Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

ROU: 12-Roxana Oprea, 4-Ioana Bortan (capt.), 5-Adina Giurgiu (13-Beatrice Tarasila, 79), 6-Maria Ficzay, 8-Ştefania Vătafu, 9-Laura Rus (3-Lidia Havristiuc, 63), 10-Andreea Voicu (19-Loredana Popa, 88), 15-Teodora Meluta, 16-Ana Maria Gorea (2-Andreea Corduneanu, 52), 17-Mara Batea (14-Alexandra Lunca, 46), 18-Mihaela Ciolacu (21-Cristina Carp, 82)
Subs
not used : 1-Linda Kajtar, 7-Raluca Sarghe
Head Coach:
Mirel Albon

Stats Summary: USA / ROU
Shots: 31 / 0
Shots on Goal: 11 / 0
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 14 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 15
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
ROU – Adina Giurgiu (caution)      16th minute
ROU – Ioana Bortan (caution)        52
ROU – Teodora Meluta (caution)     59
ROU – Andreea Voicu (caution)      68

Officials:
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Amanda Ross (USA)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press

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WNT Nov 13, 2016

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Romania Women’s National Team
Date: November 13, 2016
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
Attendance: 20,336
Weather: 71 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             2          3          5
ROU                             0          0          0

USA – Own Goal (Teodora Meluta)           20th minute
USA – Crystal Dunn (Christen Press)         45+1
USA – Christen Press (Tobin Heath)          55
USA – Morgan Brian (Penalty Kick)            88
USA – Samantha Mewis (Kelley O’Hara)   90+1 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) (5-Kelley O’Hara, 70), 20-Allie Long (3-Samantha Mewis, 70), 2-Casey Short (11-Ali Krieger, 46); 7-Kealia Ohai (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 12-Andi Sullivan, 6-Morgan Brian, 17-Tobin Heath; 19-Crystal Dunn (9-Lindsey Horan, 61), 16-Lynn Williams (8-Julie Johnston, 46), 23-Christen Press
Subs not used:
24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

ROU: 12-Roxana Oprea, 4-Ioana Bortan (capt.), 5-Adina Giurgiu (13-Beatrice Tarasila, 79), 6-Maria Ficzay, 8-Ştefania Vătafu, 9-Laura Rus (3-Lidia Havristiuc, 63), 10-Andreea Voicu (19-Loredana Popa, 88), 15-Teodora Meluta, 16-Ana Maria Gorea (2-Andreea Corduneanu, 52), 17-Mara Batea (14-Alexandra Lunca, 46), 18-Mihaela Ciolacu (21-Cristina Carp, 82)Subs not used: 1-Linda Kajtar, 7-Raluca Sarghe
Head Coach:
Mirel Albon 

Stats Summary: USA / ROU
Shots: 31 / 0
Shots on Goal: 11 / 0
Saves:  0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 14 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 15
Offside: 3 / 0 

Misconduct Summary:
ROU – Adina Giurgiu (caution)                     16th minute
ROU – Ioana Bortan (caution)                        58
ROU – Teodora Meluta (caution)                   59
ROU – Andreea Voicu (caution)                     68

Officials:
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal (USA)                                                                                                                                         
Assistant Referee 2: Amanda Ross (USA)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)                                                                                               

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press

The Vast Importance of the NWSL

On January 12 in Los Angeles, the National Women’s Soccer League held its fifth NWSL College Draft, kick-starting the professional career of 40 players, all with big dreams that most likely include playing with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

As the USA begins its long road towards qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, head coach Jill Ellis continues to emphasize the importance of watching players and deepening the player pool. While the platforms her and her staff are using to scout this array of new talent ranges from Youth National Teams, to college to players overseas, the importance of the NWSL has taken center-stage.

A Chance to Be Seen

For many reasons, having a domestic professional women’s league in the United States is a tremendous asset for both coaches and players. It allows the U.S. WNT coaches to observe a large pool of players in a competitive environment on a consistent basis. It gives the players focus, the ability to continuously train and the opportunity to play full 90-minute matches while facing some of the best players in the world.


U.S. WNT newcomer Lynn Williams and co-captain & two-time FIFA Women's Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd

“We’ve always communicated with NWSL coaches about players and we watch as many games as we can,” Ellis said. “As we don’t have a world event in the middle of this NWSL season, it will allow us to be even more connected to the league and at this time in the cycle, getting to watch these games and these players is extremely important.”

For the more established players in the WNT, the NWSL is a valuable place to sharpen their skills and show Ellis they’re putting in the effort and producing the performances to keep earning spots on one of the most competitive teams in international soccer. For the newcomers and those just breaking into the league, the NWSL is a chance to be seen, to spark the interest of Ellis and her staff and show that they’re deserving of an invite to a WNT camp.

New Opportunities

As Ellis has made deepening the WNT player pool a high priority, several NWSL players have recently been given a chance to test their mettle within the National Team environment. Last October, Ellis called 11 uncapped players to camp which included eight from the NWSL in Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NC Courage), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign) and Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage). In that group was also two 2016 NWSL draftees in Jane Campbell (Houston Dash) and Ashley Hatch (NC Courage).


Houston Dash's Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai; Chicago Red Stars' Arin Gilliland & Casey Short

As the league has continued to grow, it’s become even more of a platform. The lesson? Someone is always watching so every game is an audition. Prime examples are Williams and Short who would both tell you that if it wasn’t for the league, they probably wouldn’t be wearing the U.S. Soccer crest today. Both have now earned four caps and are part of this year’s January Camp.

Breaking In
As Ellis resumes the process of evaluating players during January Camp, a handful of new NWSL names have now begun to earn multiple call-ups. Among them are goalkeeper Adrianna Franch of the Portland Thorns, NC Courage defender Jaelene Hinkle, Short, Williams, Ohai, Dahlkemper and NC courage attacker Jessica McDonald and Orlando Pride’s Kristen Edmonds. The latter two earned their first call-ups last November. All these players, except for the injured Dahlkemper, are currently in California at the WNT’s January Camp, hoping to show once again why they belong and should remain on Ellis’ radar. Additionally, Ellis also added first-time call ups Sarah Killion of Sky Blue FC and NC Courage’s Taylor Smith for evaluation during the January training camp.


First time WNT call-up and NC Courage forward, Taylor Smith

This infusion of newer players has brought a different perspective and fresh energy. The new players have had to learn how to adapt and fit into a highly competitive environment while the veteran players have had to elevate their games in the battle for roster spots. It has also brought enthusiasm and healthy competition as everyone understands that nothing is guaranteed. For Ellis, making a roster – for a training camp or a game – won’t come down to a number of caps or World Cup experience, but to performance; to the players who have earned the right to take the field through consistently productive performances.

For these new players that cut their professional teeth in the NWSL, it’s quite literally, game on.


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WNT Jan 17, 2017

2016 Rewind: WNT Goal Scorers

In 2016, the U.S. Women’s National Team played 25 matches and scored 92 goals. More than 65% were scored by four players: Crystal Dunn, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Christen Press.

Here is a breakdown of the performance of each player in 2016:

Crystal Dunn – A Breakthrough Year
Coming of an NWSL MVP season in 2015 with the Washington Sprit, Crystal Dunn had by far her best year as a U.S. WNT player in 2016. In her three previous yearly campaigns combined, Dunn had played in 20 games and scored four goals. In 2016 alone, she played in 25 games and scored 14 goals, more than tripling her tallies from 2013-15. She also played 1,494 minutes in 2016, a number that once again almost tripled the 532 minutes she played in 2013, the most she had been on the field before this year.

Dunn’s 2016 also included a five-goal game performance on Feb. 15 against Puerto Rico. On that day, Dunn became the seventh U.S. player to achieve that feat joining Brandi Chastain (1991), Michelle Akers (1991), Tiffeny Milbrett (2002), Abby Wambach (2004), Amy Rodriguez (2012) and Sydney Leroux (2012). It was also Dunn's first multi-goal game for the WNT.

Read more
WNT Nov 22, 2016

November Camp and Games End 2016 on a High Note for USA

The U.S. Women’s National Team wrapped up its 2016 schedule with a pair of big results against Romania, winning 8-1 on Nov. 10 and 5-0 on Nov. 13 to finish the year with a 22-0-3 record. Since the penalty kick loss to Sweden at the Olympics officially counts as a tie, 2016 marks only the third time that the WNT has finished a year unbeaten in regulation when it has played 10 or more matches.

A 23-player roster trained for five days in San Jose, California at Stevens Stadium – the home field of Santa Clara University where Julie Johnston starred for four seasons – before it’s Nov. 10 matchup against Romania at Avaya Stadium.

“It’s always special to come back here,” Johnston, who played the entire second half just a stone’s throw from her old campus, said. “My school is one hop away from the stadium so having our second-to-last game of 2016 here is definitely exciting.”

Three uncapped players were on the November camp roster in defender Emily Menges, midfielder Kristin Edmonds and forward Jessica McDonald, upping the total of uncapped players that head coach Jill Ellis named to rosters for the final four games of 2016 to 14.

Against Romania in San Jose, the U.S. women dominated the match scoring eight goals in front of more than 16,000 fans. The effort was led by Stanford grad Christen Press, who scored her fourth career hat trick, finding the net three times in the first 38 minutes of the game.

For Press, as well as the entire player pool, the end of 2016 is just a transition towards a continued evolution and growth that will be needed in less than three years when the USA attempts to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

“Right now I have a lot on my mind in terms of where I want to be as a player and how I want to push myself as a player and nudge myself to the next level,” Press said after her three-goal performance. “The goals were the last thing on my mind and I was just focused on trying to be more aggressive and put more pressure on the other team and work on the things that I feel I need to work on to have a more prominent role on this team. Scoring is something I take so much pride in and have so much passion for.”

Alex Morgan added two goals, upping her total to 73 international tallies. The California native is now two away from tying Cindy Parlow for seventh on the all-time scoring list. Morgan finished the year with 17 goals, tying Carli Lloyd for most on the team in 2016. 

Additionally, the USA benefitted from a Romania own goal, as well as goals by Tobin Heath – who scored a fantastic angled shot – and Morgan Brian, who found the back of the net for the first time this year, on a diving header no less.

McDonald earned her first cap in San Jose, making her the eighth player to debut under Ellis in 2016. The other seven were: Abby Dahlkemper, Ashley Hatch, Kealia Ohai, Mallory Pugh, Casey Short, Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams.

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WNT Nov 16, 2016
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