CONCACAF Gold Cup Wrap: USA, Costa Rica cruise in openers
By Football News
Chris Wondolowski has struck a first-half hat-trick as the United States thumped Belize 6-1 in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener.
The tournament hosts destroyed Belize at Portland's Jeld-Wen Field with Stuart Holden, Michael Orozco and Landon Donovan scoring the other goals for the USA, while Ian Gaynair got on the scoresheet for the Central American visitors just before half-time.
The USA stormed to the top of the Gold Cup's Group C, while Costa Rica defeated Cuba 3-0 in the earlier game of Tuesday's double-header in Portland to claim second position.
Wondolowski led the way for the Americans, taking his career tally of international goals to four with a first-half spree.
The 30-year-old San Jose Earthquakes striker opened the scoring in the 12th minute, knocking the ball home from close range after Joe Corona's header was cleared off the line by Belize defender Trevor Lennon.
Kyle Beckerman set up the USA's second goal in the 37th minute with a whipped cross, which Wondolowski headed home with authority, but Belize hit back three minutes later thanks to a well-placed header from Gaynair.
Belize's joy was short-lived, however, as Wondolowski notched his hat-trick right after kick-off, getting his head to Michael Parkhurst's cross to beat Shane Moody-Orio at the near post.
It took 13 minutes of the second half for the USA to finish off the smallest nation at the Gold Cup when Holden tapped home Donovan's knock-down from Corona's cross.
Orozco made it 5-1 in the 72nd minute with a header from Donovan's free-kick, while the latter wrapped up the victory with a penalty four minutes later.
In the earlier match, Michael Barrantes scored twice in Costa Rica's victory after Cuba had kept the game scoreless until half-time.
Barrantes gave Costa Rica the lead seven minutes after the break with a powerful half-volley from the edge of the box and in the 71st minute it was 2-0 when Jairo Arrieta finished off Kenny Cunningham's nice lead-up work.
Costa Rica completed an impressive second-half performance with 13 minutes remaining as Barrantes bundled the ball home after a fumble from Cuba's goalkeeper Odel Molina.