[USA-BELIZE]Chris Wondolowski says he is a superstitious player, and he should probably wear a jersey with his name misspelled on the back every game. He scored a hat trick with "WONDOWLOWSKI" spelled on the back of jersey but was then shut out after the half when the error was corrected and he was handed a new jersey. But he could thank Landon Donovan, who took over with a goal and two assists to give the USA a 6-1 win in its Gold Cup opener Tuesday in Portland, Ore.
The three teams immediately behind the USA in the Gold Cup -- Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras -- all struggled in the first half of their openers, but Wondolowski made sure the USA got off to a fast start with three goals, the first on a rebound and the next two diving headers.
"The biggest part of our game plan was to try to get on the board early," Wondolowski said. "That would make them come out and try to attack. Then we would be able to find a little bit more space."
Unfortunately, Ian Gaynair was as left wide open in the front of the U.S. goal as Wondolowski was for his second goal and the Belizean scored to temporarily cut the U.S. lead to 2-1 late in the first half. But seconds later, Wondo, who had gone scoreless in his first 11 appearances for the USA, made it four goals in his last two games, getting his head on Michael Parkhurst's cross to restore the USA's two-goal lead.
If the USA didn't reach the level of its second-half performance against Guatemala in its 6-0 win on Friday, it equaled its goal output with goals from Stuart Holden, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Donovan from the penalty spot (after a dubious handball call).
"We took it seriously," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "The team was very focused. They wanted to get the goals and they did."
Probably, his only complaint will be all the open chances his defense gave Belize, which was making its Gold Cup debut. Besides Gaynair's goal, the Jaguars had several good opportunities they could not convert.
LINEUP CHANGES.Klinsmann had earlier said he expected the team to start against Guatemala would be the team to start against Belize, but he made three changes with Wondo earning the start in place of Herculez Gomez. Orozco Fiscal started in place of Oguchi Onyewu at center back, and Mix Diskerud started for Edgar Castillo in midfield, where Jose Torres was moved to left side in Castillo's place. The appearance officially tied the Norwegian-born Diskerud to the United States.
50/50 MARK. Donovan's goal and two assists gave him 52 goals and 51 assists in his international career. He became the first American male to reach the 50-goal mark with two goals against Guatemala, and he was aided in his quest for 50 assists by some U.S. fans, who spotted a missing assist from 2004.
GOAL FEST.The six goals were the most the USA has ever scored in the Gold Cup and the five-goal win tied its record for largest margin of victory. The win kept the USA perfect in tournament openers, extending its record to 12-0-0.
July 9 in Portland, Ore.
USA 6 Belize 1.Goals: Wondolowski 12, 37, 41, Holden 58, Orozco Fiscal 72, Donovan pen. 76; Gaynair 40.
USA --Rimando; Parkhurst, Orozco Fiscal, Goodson, Beasley, Beckerman (Holden, 46); Corona (Bedoya, 66), Diskerud, Torres (Shea, 61); Donovan, Wondolowski.
Belize --Orio; Lennen (Tasher, 64), Mariano, Gaynair, Smith, McCaulay, Roches, Eiley, Torres (Salazar, 77), Trapp, Pandy.
Yellow Cards:Belize -- Lennen 46.
Referee:Hector Rodriguez (Honduras).