The Soccer Desk

Gold Cup: USMNT Start Strong With Definitive Win Over Belize


The USMNT played its first match of the 2013 Gold Cup on Tuesday night in front of a rambunctious crowd of over 18,000 Portland fans. During the pre-game press conference, the US manager Jurgen Klinsmann said that in order to defeat a defensive team like Belize his side would need to “move the ball around quickly” and “keep the tempo very high,” which is exactly what his players were able accomplish.

The first goal of the match came in the eleventh minute after Jose Torres sent a long cross right to the head of Joe Corona on the far side of the box. Belize defender Trevor Lennon was able to stab the ball away, but unfortunately for him and his squad the deflection landed right on the foot of San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski who easily put it in the back of the net to give the US the early lead. Wondolowski scored his second goal of the match in the thirty-seventh minute when he headed in a high, arcing pass from midfielder Kyle Beckerman. He would complete his first half hat trick just four minutes later, but not before Belize defender Ian Gainer, completely unmarked on the far side of the box, headed in a free kick for his team’s first goal in a major international competition. The half ended with the USMNT up 3-1.

The USMNT pushed the tempo even harder in the second half, resulting in the three more goals, the first of which was a beauty. Joe Corona worked the his way up the right side of the pitch then sent a gorgeous cross to Landon Donovan, who headed the ball softly onto the feet of Stu Holden for an easy goal. The Galaxy striker notched his second assist of the night when he found Michael Orozco on a free kick from just outside the box. Donovan scored a goal of his own on a penalty kick in the seventy-fifth minute, the final goal of the match. The final score 6-1 for the US side.

It was a an expected, yet definitive win for the USMNT who will look to continue their recent streak of dominating play when they face Cuba on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. Belize plays Costa Rica at the same venue later that evening.

Photo: Randy L. Rasmussen / The Oregonian