SANDY, Utah – Chris Wondolowski came off the bench to strike twice for second-half goals to lead the United States to a 4-1 win over Cuba in both teams' second Group C match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Joe Corona broke a 1-1 tie in the 57th minute, corralling a loose ball at the top of the 18-yard box and curling it into the far post for his first career goal. He is the sixth player on this United States roster to score his first career goal in the Gold Cup.
Wondolowski added an insurance goal in the 66th minute, flicking a Kyle Beckerman cross past Cuban goalkeeper Odelin Molina. The in-form San Jose Earthquakes striker struck for his fifth Gold Cup goal and sixth overall in three outings five minutes from fulltime, knocking in a chested pass from Edgar Castillo.
Cuba took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute as Ariel Pedro Martinez ran past Castillo and sent an endline cross back in front of goal where Jose Ciprian Alfonso scored on a side volley from eight meters.
The United States equalized deep into first-half stoppage time on a Landon Donovan penalty kick. Canadian referee David Gantar ruled Cuban defender Jeniel Molina tripped Castillo in the box and Donovan calmly put the ball to the right of Molina, who dived the other way.
Donovan, who scored from the spot for a third straight game, has 53 career goals, including 15 in 30 Gold Cup appearances.
The U.S. dominated possession through much of the first half, but it did not necessarily translate into quality scoring opportunities.
In the 14th minute, Donovan’s driven corner was headed wide by Herculez Gomez. Another Donovan corner in the 21st minute was grabbed by Molina.
The U.S., which defeated Belize, 6-1, in the group stage opener in Portland Tuesday, nearly added onto its lead after Wondolowski’s insurance goal. But second-half substitute Mix Diskerud put his shot, following a deflected corner, just wide of the far post in the 71st minute.
Nine minutes later, Donovan played the ball to a wide-open Wondolowski in front of goal, but Molina made the point-blank save.
In the second minute of stoppage time, an effort shot Castillo deflected off a Cuban defender and then the crossbar for a U.S. corner.
On the final matchday of the group stage, the U.S., which extended its winning streak to seven games, meets Costa Rica and Cuba, which lost its opener, 3-0, to the Ticos, battles Belize Tuesday night at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
NOTES: With his two-goal haul against Cuba, Wondolowski tied Clint Dempsey for fifth-place on the United States’ all-time Gold Cup scoring list with five tallies…The U.S. set a new team mark for the most goals over a 2-game Gold Cup stretch with 10, breaking its previous best of seven set in 2003 (2 goals v Martinique, 5 v Cuba)...Cuba has conceded 3 or more goals in 10 of its last 13 Gold Cup games.