Wondo spearheads rout with hat trick -- typo and all

[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).
Att.: 18,724. Att.: 18,724.

8 comments about "Wondo spearheads rout with hat trick -- typo and all".
  1. Kent James, July 10, 2013 at 9:59 a.m.

    Granted, the opposition was weak, but it was nice to see everyone getting a chance to show what they could do. It was good to see Wondo finally having some success at the international level (and Lord knows, you can never have too many capable goalscorers) and his headers would have beaten most opponents. I think LD looked to be in good form; his touch, quickness, and darting runs still put him in a class above most US players.

  2. Scott O'Connor, July 10, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

    Wondo(w)lowski should wear that jersey (and play Belize) every game. The other big thing from the game is that we've got Diskerud for good now, no wooing from his native Norway. I really like Mix's comfort on the ball in the midfield. On the negative, the defense was awful. That set piece goal was shambolic. Now that the midfield and forwards seem to have Klinsman's system/style digested, he really needs to get back to solidifying the back 4. Also, why the heck are we taking short corners? That's not US Soccer. Pump the corners into the box and let our big guys get some heads on it. Set pieces have moved from a strength to a liability under Klinsman. That said it's nice that we are scoring most of our goals now during the run of play and not just off free kicks and corners. Since 95% of the game is played in the run of play, that makes us more dangerous than just relying on those dangerous set piece opportunities (5% of the game time).

  3. Charles Stamos, July 10, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.

    The offense worked well against a weak opponent. Take this as a baby step in the right direction. Donovan was a key in making the USA dangerous. Wondo has shown he is a goalscorer, now let's see him do that against top level teams. Diskerud was a nice addition, now let's see him also in the midfield against tough squads. The goal was caused by two defenders getting confused on a simple pick play, are you playing zone or man to man on set pieces - it should be man - and do you fight through picks or switch your mark - that can be debated, but not after the goal is scored! The two backs can be seen blaming each other on who left Gaynair wide open. Cuba will be a little tougher opponent and Costa Rica even better. Let's see what the team does against them. Still a good start to the tourney, build on it and provide some additional first line players and depth to the World Cup team!

  4. Charles Stamos, July 10, 2013 at 10:59 a.m.

    One more comment. Playing Beasley at left back underscores how weak we are at that position. If he gets hurt, do we have a competent replacement?

  5. Chris St. Hilaire, July 10, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

    Only two members of Belize's team even play full time soccer. There's simply no way to tell if Wondo is right for the role with that competition. To me, the US lacked any kind of creativity until the latter part of the second half. I think they need time to gel.

  6. Chris Sapien , July 10, 2013 at 2:27 p.m.

    Regarding posts here: Wondo's diving headers were above all else, couragious! I can't remember a US diving header goal since Bocanegra nearly put his face on the pitch to score a few years ago. Donovan had the ball glued to his feet in a good way last night, in total control and touch perfect. Some confusion between Goodson and O. Fiscal was expected, given they had no game experience together, at least that I am aware of. I understand giving the opportunity to Fiscal, but he doesn't appear to be as confident in the air, nor physically firm in position as Onyewu. Wasn't real happy with that change. Scott, I too am not a fan of short corners, but if the intent is to hold runs until the cross is delivered from a different angle, I am cool with the "mixing it up" attempt with the timing a couple times per game. Diskerud reminds me a little of a young J. O'Brien, (don't kill me on that one)calm and strong in possession. Regarding LB, for the GC it's Beasley/Castillo and that's it (will we see C. Ashe?), but for Brazil, I expect Fabian to be given the real chance, along with Beas, to make the squad there, since midfield is way loaded at this point. I actually thought the Beasley/Castillo left side was more dangerous, then Torres/Beas, although Torres had some real nice chip crosses. Did anyone else notice we were rightside heavy in this game? Lastly, we could of easily had ten if their keeper wasn't "on his game", probably man o' the match for Belize. We also flubbed a couple of sitters.....

  7. Scott O'Connor, July 11, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.

    Yes that keeper for Belize, Orio, was terrific for them. If I were a scout, i'd be jingling some phone lines in MLS or even the lesser European leagues to get that guy signed. He was under immense pressure the whole night. All of the goals he let in were not savable. He made several great saves and rarely let up a rebound on some very tough shots. Could have been 10-1, easily.

  8. Scott O'Connor, July 11, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.

    Orio will get a similar chance to shine in the next game against Costa Rica. Hopefully he can stone them even better than he did us and with some fan support in Rio Tinto maybe Belize can keep it close to help our goal differential (in case of a draw against Costa Rica in game 3).

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