By Ridge Mahoney
After failing to score in his first 11 U.S. appearances, Chris Wondolowski upped his goal tally to four in two games by nailing a hat trick against Belize in the USA's 6-1 win over the Jaguars in the Gold Cup Group C opener. His hat trick earned him the highest U.S. ratings, but just about every player scored well against overmatched opposition.
RATING PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) 8/0.Seldom called into action, but turned away a deflected shot and well-hit blast with sparking saves at full extension.
6 Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/GER) 13/0.Crisply assisted on third U.S. goal with an accurate cross to the near post for Wondolowski to head in. He played a lot of intelligent passes into the middle and up the wing and only rarely looked stretched defensively.
6 Michael Orozco Fiscal. (Puebla/MEX) 6/2. Powered home a point-blank header from a Donovan feed for the fifth goal, had to scramble a few times when misplays opened up a gap for Belize, but kept a tight leash on Deon McCaulay much of the time.
6 Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) 37/4.Used the ball well and caused Belize problems by delivering passes out of the back and applying pressure from the left channel. Veered into the middle to drill a 35-yarder over the bar. Slow reaction caused momentary panic in the U.S. goalmouth but he did a lot of sweeping that blunted Belize’s rare attacks.
5 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX) 105/17.Very active on the left flank, pushing forward to work combinations and dropping back to provide an outlet for buildups out of the back. Had a bit of trouble closing down opposing wide players.
6 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 27/1.Set up a goal for Wondolowski with an excellent serve from the right flank and contributed a heady mix of short first-time balls and longer deliveries into the attacking third.
6 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR) 5/1.He and Beckerman interchanged roles and positions seamlessly, and when the deeper of the pair Diskerud swept up a lot of balls. He also hit a good shot from distance that the keeper covered. He laid on a nice pass that Donovan turned to hit on frame.
6 Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX) 6/0.Delivered an impressive array of balls from the right side, opened up space for Parkhurst and other teammates, and evaded numerous challenges with nifty moves. His header set up the first U.S. goal. He hit a fierce shot that unluckily struck an opponent on its way toward the net.
5 Jose Torres (Tigres/MEX) 22/0.Poor finishing detracted from a solid game on the wing. He burst past Elroy Smith to deliver a cross that led to the first goal and provided several bright moments, but squandered two excellent opportunities to score his first U.S. goal.
7 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 146/52. Capped off the rout by converting from the penalty spot after notching two assists to increase his all-time leading figure to 51. The mobility and sharpness and acceleration weren’t quite vintage Donovan but more than good enough to frazzle this weak opponent.
8 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 13/4. He pumped up his confidence by slamming home a sitter when Corona’s header was blocked, and then buried Belize with two Wondo-esque headers. His movement off the ball and touches during combination play helped the U.S. pad the three goals he provided in the first half.
6 Stuart Holden (Bolton/ENG) 19/3. Meshed well with teammates and added life to central midfield, got his first goal since 2009 by striding forward to bang home a Donovan feed.
5 Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborg/SWE) 16/0. Jumped right into the fray by scrapping for a ball near the end line and his energy turned up the pressure on Belize.
5 Brek Shea (Stoke City/ENG) 18/0.Physical forays down the left wing added to Belize’s woes.
(1=low; 5=average; 10-high.)