PORTLAND — Chris Wondolowski recorded a hat trick in the first half, and his teammates equaled him in the second Tuesday as the United States opened CONCACAF Gold Cup play with a 6-1 rout of Belize.
The game was played before a crowd of 18,724 at Jeld-Wen Field.
The USA dominated possession from the start and broke through in the 12th minute with Wondolowski scoring on the rebound of a saved header from Joe Corona.
His second goal came on a header in the 37th minute, this one assisted by Kyle Beckerman.
Belize briefly halved the advantage in the 39th minute, when Ian Gaynair found space in the box on a set piece.
However, Wondolowski answered about a minute later with another header.
In the second half, the United States added goals from Stuart Holden, Michael Orozco and a 75th-minute penalty kick by
The USA will return to Gold Cup action Saturday, meeting Cuba in Sandy, Utah. Wondolowski will be missing when Seattle Sounders FC visits his MLS team, the San Jose Earthquakes.
In the opening match Tuesday, Costa Rica defeated Cuba, 3-0.
After the game, Cuba coach Walter Benitez said he has no knowledge of Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso’s long-stated desire to play for the United States national team. Alonso defected from Cuba during the 2006 Gold Cup.
The competition shifts to Seattle on Thursday for a doubleheader at CenturyLink Field.
Panama (1-0) and Martinique (1-0) will meet at 5:30 p.m., followed by Mexico (0-1) and Canada (0-1).
• There also was an international flavor at Seattle Sounders FC training Tuesday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Former Sounders and U.S. national team goalkeeper Kasey Keller of Olympia also was at training, preparing to join Jurgen Klinsmann’s coaching staff if the USA advances to the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
“I needed to kick a few balls before I did that so my leg didn’t fall off when I got in there,” Keller said. “But it’s cool. They let me come out and help (Seattle goalkeepers coach Tom Dutra) out for a few days; hopefully get in a little bit of shape for when I go out to serve with the national team.”
• Sporting director Chris Henderson said the Sounders are looking to improve themselves during the summer transfer window, which opened Tuesday.
“It’s been like every window that opens: It’s really busy and the agents are pumping players your way,” he said. “We have some guys that we’re looking at. We have some cash available to look for players, but we’re still pursuing the search and really active, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
• Sounders career goals leader Fredy Montero is visiting Seattle — which he’s called his “second home” — this week. After greeting his former teammates, Montero said he does not yet know if his flight out will take him home to Colombia or off to join Sporting Lisbon, as has been reported.
“I’m just waiting until everything gets done because nothing is official yet,” he said. “So let’s see if I have to go from Seattle to Colombia or Seattle to there. I don’t know.”Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt