CONCACAF GOLD CUP: GROUP C ROUND-UP

ConcacafGoldCup

Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States side hit the lowly Belize for six and Costa Rica easily got by Cuba, Will Burns explains all the action from matchday three of the Gold Cup.

GroupC

COSTA RICA 3-0 CUBA

Michael Barrantes hit a second-half brace to help Costa Rica to a 3-0 victory over Cuba in the Group C opener at JELD-WEN Field on Tuesday evening.

After a scoreless first half, Barrantes finally broke down the tight Cuban defense in the 52nd minute, taking an attempted clearance off his chest and then firing a side volley into the net from 17 meters to put the Ticos in front.

Jairo Arrieta doubled Costa Rica’s advantage in the 71st minute, following his own saved point-blank shot from a Kenny Cunningham cross. Barrantes added his second goal in the 77th minute, when the Aalesund hitman took two touches and tucked the ball to the right of goalkeeper Odelin Molina from 26 meters to give the Costa Ricans a 3-0 lead.

BELIZE 1-6 UNITED STATES

United States captain Landon Donovan passed the big 50 mark for assists in a 6-1 romp over Belize, the all-time leader in goals and assists now has 51 of each for the U.S. national team.

Chris Wondolowski led the charge being a hat-trick hero in the first half, and after going his first 11 international games without a goal, Wondolowski has now scored four in the last two matches for Kilnsmann’s team.

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden scored for the first time in four years for the Americans, although he is working his way back from nearly two years out due to knee surgeries.

The goals started flowing on 12 minutes, Jose Torres sprinted past Evan Mariano with ease down the left and whipped in a cross for Joe Corona. The Tijuana man met it with a header, and the ball bounced through to hitman Wondolowski. The reigning MLS Golden Boot champion finished the goal easily to put the Americans ahead.

It was two after 37 minutes. Kyle Beckerman of Real Salt Lake curled a teasing ball into the area and lunging forward, Wondolowski nodded in the second. With five minutes remaining until the interval, Belize grabbed a goal back. From a Donovan foul, Elroy Smith dumped a free kick into the U.S. penalty area and the unmarked Ian Gaynair guided a header into the bottom corner of Nick Rimando’s goal.

Wondolowski completed his first half hat-trick two minutes later and crushed Belize’s hopes of getting something out of the game. Defender Michael Parkhurst took on his marker and swung a cross towards Wondolowski in the box, and the San Jose striker nodded down a header for his treble.

At half-time, Holden replaced Beckerman and soon into his appearance he nabbed a goal. Donovan nodded back down a Corona cross, and Holden finished past goalkeeper Shane Orio. The last time Holden scored for the U.S. national team was against Haiti in the 2009 Gold Cup group stage. The assist marked Donovan’s 50th for the United States.

But Donovan was not finished and in the 72nd minute, he whipped in a free kick and Michael Orozco Fiscal placed a header into the open net for put the Americans, 5-1 in front. It was six with just 15 minutes left, Alejandro Bedoya chipped a ball onto a Belize defender on the arm and referee Hector Rodriguez pointed straight to the spot. Donovan tucked his penalty into the bottom corner to finish the scoring. It was the LA Galaxy star’s 52nd career goal, another U.S. record.

The Americans will be next ion action against Cuba at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, while Belize will face the Ticos in the other match in Sandy, Utah.

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