USWNT beats Romania to end 2016 without a loss, technically

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. women end calendar year with 5-0 win over Romania

The United States women's national team defeated Romania, 5-0 on Sunday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., to finish a calendar year unbeaten for the third time in program history.

But that comes with a caveat, of course: The U.S. women failed to finish in the top three at a major tournament for the first time ever (in 13 tournaments), falling to Sweden in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Olympics. That result is technically counted as a tie, and thus the Americans finish 2016 with a 22-0-3 record. 

Following up her hat trick from Thursday in an 8-1 victory over the same opponent, Christen Press scored another wonderful goal in the 54th minute to keep her scoring streak alive at four straight U.S. matches.

Press and Crystal Dunn are the only two players to feature in all 25 matches for the U.S. this year. Dunn played a role in each of the first two goals for the Americans on Sunday. sending in the 20th-minute cross that deflected into the net for an own goal and then doubling the U.S. lead on the final kick before halftime with a low finish.

Morgan Brian stepped up to finish a penalty kick in the 88th minute, and second-half substitute Sam Mewis scored the fifth goal on a header in stoppage time.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis started the same 10 field players on Sunday as she did on Thursday, against deploying an attack-minded 3-4-3 formation. Alyssa Naeher replaced Ashlyn Harris in goal on Sunday.