PORTLAND – Maybe next time they will spell Chris Wondolowski’s name right.
The striker scored a first-half hat trick in a 6-1 victory for the U.S. men’s national team over Belize in the opening round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday night.
Landon Donovan added a goal and two assists, becoming the first player with at least 50 career goals and 50 assists for the U.S. team. He has 52 goals and 51 assists in 146 international matches.
Wondolowski, who plays for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, sported an extra “W” on the back of his red-and-white jersey for the first international meeting between the teams. His jersey read “Wondowlowski.”
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With a laugh, he said, “I heard there was a lot of W’s in there.”
Costa Rica defeated Cuba 3-0 in an earlier match Tuesday at Jeld-Wen Field. The 12-team Gold Cup, which includes national teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean, is played every two years.
Wondolowski is the third U.S. player to score three goals in a Gold Cup match, joining Donovan and Brian McBride.
The United States has won four Gold Cups since the tournament’s inception in 1991. Mexico has won the past two.
The U.S. men were coming off a 6-0 rout of Guatemala in San Diego on Friday, an international friendly to warm up for the Gold Cup.
Donovan scored twice that night in his first match after a five-month break from the national team. He was not included on rosters for the U.S. team’s June World Cup qualifying matches.
Wondolowski scored his first international goal against Guatemala.
Belize was making its first Gold Cup appearance. The Jaguars, as they are known, qualified for the competition with a fourth-place finish in the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana.
The U.S. team, which improved to 7-2-2 this year, is 22nd in the FIFA world rankings and Belize is ranked 130th.
It was the first visit to Portland for the United States men since 1998. The announced attendance for the match was 18,724.
The Group C teams next play Saturday in Sandy, Utah, with the U.S. team facing Cuba and Belize playing Costa Rica.