• Wednesday Jul 10, 2013

    Wondolowski hat-trick lifts U.S. over Belize

    PORTLAND, Ore. – A first-half hat-trick by Chris Wondolowski led the United States to a 6-1 win over CONCACAF Gold Cup debutants Belize in both team’s Group C opener at JELD-WEN Field Tuesday night.
      
    The United States took the group lead over Costa Rica, 3-0 winners over Cuba in the first game of the doubleheader, via goal differential.
     
    Wondolowski struck first in the 12th minute as Trevor Lennen’s attempted clearance of a Joe Corona header across the face of goal landed right at the San Jose Earthquakes forward’s feet. The play initiated by a back-post cross by Jose Torres ended with a point-blank goal to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. 
     
    Wondolowski added his second goal in the 37th minute, firing home a diving header at the edge of the six-yard box from a Kyle Beckerman cross. 
     
    One minute after Belize pulled a goal back when an unmarked Ian Gaynair headed in Elroy Smith’s free kick from 10 meters, Wondolowski completed his hat-trick, heading in Michael Parkhurst’s cross in the 41st minute. 
     
    The Americans' relentless pressure in the Belizean defensive third resulted in a fourth goal in the 58th minute when second-half substitute Stuart Holden knocked in Landon Donovan's laid-off header. The assist was Donovan's 50th in his international career, becoming the first U.S. player to reach that milestone.
     
    Donovan set up the fifth U.S. goal as well, playing a set piece across the net where Michael Orozco headed in his second career goal in the 72nd minute.
     
    Donovan clinically finished from the penalty spot four minutes later after Honduran referee Hector Rodriguez called a handball against Belize. It was the Los Angeles Galaxy star’s 52nd career goal, another U.S. record.
      
    Wondolowski, whose name on the back of his jersey was misspelled with three ‘Ws,’ was dangerous from the opening kick. A third-minute cross forced busy Belizean goalkeeper Shane Orio into action. 
     
    In the eighth minute, Donovan slipped by a defender and sent a back-post cross to Clarence Goodson, who nodded the ball back across the box. But Orozco’s volley from six meters was off the mark. 
     
    U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando had his first touch in the 23rd minute, racing to the near post to tip away a deflected shot. 
     
    In the 33rd minute, Donovan had a brilliant turn on the ball and slipped a pass to an open Corona on his right. But his shot was parried away by Orio for a corner kick. 
     
    Three minutes later, Torres’ shot following a deflected Donovan cross sailed over the crossbar.
    Deon McCaulay had the first Belizean scoring chance, but he put his 24-meter shot wide of the far post in the 39th minute.
      
    A nifty three-pass sequence freed DaMarcus Beasley on the left side of the box in the 56th minute, but Orio pushed the ball away for another U.S. corner. 
     
    The United States will take on Cuba in the second game of the group stage at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. Belize will face the Ticos in the other match in Sandy, Utah.
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