Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Chris Wondolowski scored a first-half hat trick to help the United States to a comfortable 6-1 win over Belize at Jeld- Web Field on Tuesday in the Gold Cup opener for both sides in Group C.
The Americans were heavy favorites to claim three points against Belize, and Wondolowski delivered with a huge first half to hand his team a 3-1 lead after 45 minutes.
Wondolowski started the scoring 12 minutes into the game when Joe Corona's header was blocked in front of goal, leaving a simple rebound for the San Jose Earthquakes forward to hammer home.
Kyle Beckerman set up the second tally in the 37th with a first-time cross that was dropped into the area six yards from goal, where Wondolowski scored on a diving header.
The U.S. had a brief lapse in concentration a few minutes later as Belize pulled a goal back through Ian Gaynair, who was left wide open seven yards from goal and turned a header past goalkeeper Nick Rimando from a free kick.
But Wondolowski replied within a minute to complete his hat trick, darting to the near post and holding off a defender before nodding home Michael Parkhurst's cross.
Landon Donovan took over the game in the second half for the U.S. as he set up Stuart Holden's tally in the 58th before also providing a free kick that Michael Orozco nodded over the goal line from a few yards.
Donovan then capped the scoring in the 76th minute with a successful penalty kick to get the Americans off to an emphatic start.
In Group C's other match on Tuesday, Michael Barrantes scored a pair of second-half goals to propel Costa Rica to a 3-0 win over Cuba, which yielded all three goals in the span of 26 minutes.
The U.S. will next face Cuba on Saturday, while Costa Rica meets Belize.