Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Chris Wondolowski scored a first-half hat
trick to help the United States to a comfortable 6-1 win over Belize at Jeld-
Web Field on Tuesday in the Gold Cup opener for both sides in Group C.
The Americans were heavy favorites to claim three points against Belize, and
Wondolowski delivered with a huge first half to hand his team a 3-1 lead after
Wondolowski started the scoring 12 minutes into the game when Joe Corona's
header was blocked in front of goal, leaving a simple rebound for the San Jose
Earthquakes forward to hammer home.
Kyle Beckerman set up the second tally in the 37th with a first-time cross
that was dropped into the area six yards from goal, where Wondolowski scored
on a diving header.
The U.S. had a brief lapse in concentration a few minutes later as Belize
pulled a goal back through Ian Gaynair, who was left wide open seven yards
from goal and turned a header past goalkeeper Nick Rimando from a free kick.
But Wondolowski replied within a minute to complete his hat trick, darting to
the near post and holding off a defender before nodding home Michael
Landon Donovan took over the game in the second half for the U.S. as he set up
Stuart Holden's tally in the 58th before also providing a free kick that
Michael Orozco nodded over the goal line from a few yards.
Donovan then capped the scoring in the 76th minute with a successful penalty
kick to get the Americans off to an emphatic start.
In Group C's other match on Tuesday, Michael Barrantes scored a pair of
second-half goals to propel Costa Rica to a 3-0 win over Cuba, which yielded
all three goals in the span of 26 minutes.
The U.S. will next face Cuba on Saturday, while Costa Rica meets Belize.
The Sports Network