Chris Wondolowski hit a first-half hat trick in a romp over Gold Cup first-timer Belize to begin the 2013 edition of the tournament.
Chris Wondolowski (with his name misspelled as Wondowlowski on his jersey) led the charge with a hat trick in the first half. After going his first nine international games without a goal, Wondolowski scored his fourth in the last two U.S. matches.
Additionally, Stuart Holden scored for the first time in four years for the Americans. The Bolton midfielder is working his way back from nearly two years out due to knee surgeries.
It started in the 12th minute. Jose Torres burned Evan Mariano down the left and teed up a cross. Joe Corona met it with a loose header in the box, and the ball bounced through to Wondolowski. The reigning MLS Golden Boot winner finished easily from close range.
Another cross led to the next goal. Kyle Beckerman curled the ball into the box in the 37th minute. Lunging forward, Wondolowski headed in his second of the game.
With five minutes left in the half, Belize pulled one back. From a Landon Donovan foul, Elroy Smith dumped a free kick into the U.S. box. Ian Gaynair popped up unmarked and guided a header into the bottom corner.
But just as Belizean belief grew, the Americans crushed it. Two minutes after the consolation, Michael Parkhurst of all people took on his marker and swung a cross toward the area. Wondolowski nodded down a header for his hat trick.
All four goals in the first half originated from crosses.
At halftime Stuart Holden entered the match for Beckerman. In just over a dozen minutes on the field, he put the ball in the back of the net. Donovan nodded down a Corona cross, and Holden swept past Shane Orio.
The last time Holden scored for the U.S. national team was in the 2009 Gold Cup group stage, against Haiti.
The assist marked Donovan's 50th with the United States, a record.
Donovan wasn't done. In the 72nd minute, he whipped a free kick into the box from near the end line. Michael Orozco Fiscal cushioned a header into the open net.
With a quarter hour remaining, an Alejandro Bedoya chip hit a Belize defender on the arm. Referee Hector Rodriguez pointed to the spot. Donovan squatted, crossed himself and tucked his penalty into the bottom corner.
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