The U.S. Women’s National Team will wrap up its 2016 schedule on Sunday, Nov. 13 against Romania at StubHub Center in Carson, California (6:30 p.m. PT on FS1).
Here are a few things to know about the USA’s final opponent of the year:
The 51st Team
The two November friendlies marked the first matches between the USA and Romania in women’s soccer. Romania is the 51st different country the U.S. Women will have played in their history. The USA won its first meeting four days ago on Nov. 10, 2016, 8-1 with goals from Press (3), Morgan (2), Heath, Brian and an own goal.
Romania, currently 36th in the FIFA rankings, finished second behind France in Group 3 of Qualifying for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro, surpassing Ukraine, Greece and Albania in its group. Romania had a strong showing in the Qualifying round. It lost to world power France only 3-0 in its first game of the Qualifying round, but bounced back nicely to tie Ukraine 2-2 and defeat Albania, 3-0 and Greece, 3-1. On the second match of the home-and-away series, Romania started a lot more confident and loss to France by a slim margin of 1-0. All in all, it outscored its group opponents, 17-8 throughout the eight-game Qualifying tournament. Its second place finish in the group earned the Balkan nation a spot in the playoffs against Portugal, as these two were the two group runner-ups with the worst record, for the final berth to the 16-nation tournament being held in the Netherlands.
In the playoffs, Portugal and Romania drew 0-0 in the first leg in Portugal, but a 1-1 draw in Romania gave Portugal the final berth to the Euros next summer on away goals despite being tied on aggregate.
With the teams tied at 0-0 after the second leg of the playoff against Portugal, the game went on to extra time, and it was Portugal which struck first, scoring in stoppage time of the first extra time period. Down 1-0, second half substitute Laura Rus, who came on in the 85th minute, gave Romania a chance to qualify when she tied the match in the 111th minute of play. Romania was unable to find the second goal that would have qualified them for the Euros for the first time in the history of the women’s game in the country, but the match did show a promising improvement for the young squad. Rus is the leading scorer for Romania (21 goals) and she also tallied the sole goal against the USA in the teams' first meeting on Nov. 10 after teammate Stefania Vatafu collected a loose ball deep in Romania's defensive half and sent a long ball past the U.S. defense for Rus to chase. Run beat Ashlyn Harris to the ball, rounded the U.S. 'keeper and with and open net, rolled her shot into the goal from 25 yards out.
Midfielder Ştefania Vătafu was the top scorer for Romania during Euro Qualifying, tallying four goals in eight games, while Alexandra Lunca, Laura Rus, Adina Giurgiu and Andreea Voicu notched two each. These five players combined for 12 of Romania’s 18 goals in the Qualifying tournament and playoff, and they are all in the roster set to face the USA on Nov. 10 and Nov 14 in California.
Romania Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Roxana Oprea (Olimpia Cluj), Linda Kajtar (ACS Vasas Femina Odorhei)
DEFENDERS (5): Andreea Corduneanu (Olimpia Cluj), Lidia Havristiuc (Olimpia Cluj), Maria Ficzay (Medyk Konin, POL), Ana Maria Gorea (ASA Târgu Mures), Teodora Meluta (Olimpia Cluj)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Ioana Bortan (Olimpia Cluj), Adina Giurgiu (Olimpia Clurj), Raluca Sarghe (Konak Belediyespor, TUR), Ştefania Vătafu (Olimpia Cluj), Andreea Voicu (Olimpia Cluj), Beatrice Tarasila (Olimpia Cluj), Cristina Carp (Olimpia Clurj)
FORWARDS (5): Laura Rus (Icheon Daekyo, KOR), Alexandra Lunca (Olimpia Cluj), Mara Batea (Olimpia Cluj), Mihaela Ciolacu (Olimpia Cluj), Loredana Popa (Olimpia Cluj)