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USA, Costa Rica Dominate Their Way to Top of Group C

The USA put up six against Belize and Costa Rica shut out Cuba as the two regional powers establish their dominance in their first games of the Gold Cup.

Jonathan Ferrey

The United States and Costa Rica won their first matches in routs, 6-1 over Belize and 3-0 over Cuba respectively, rightly establishing themselves at the early leaders of Group C in the 2013 Gold Cup.

The USA led by a first half hat trick from Chris Wondolowski, who spent the first half with his name spelled "Wondowlowski" on the back of his jersey, and a one goal, two assist performance by Landon Donovan easily pulled away from first time Gold Cup participants Belize.

But Belize would not be denied their first goal in a major international tournament as Ian Gaynair was left unmarked on a 40th minute free kick and buried his header past keeper Nick Rimando (1 save). Belize's keeper, Shane Orio had a solid game in net with 6 saves and despite allowing 6 goals performed admirably against a constant US attack.

Stuart Holden scored his first international goal since returning to the national team following his long injury spell. Michael Orozco Fiscal added his second international goal as well to finish the 6-1 scoreline.

Costa Rica started slowly against Cuba with the game scoreless at halftime. But shortly after the restart, Cuba failed to clear a ball out of the defense, and Costa Rica capitalized with Michael Barrantes netting the opener in the 51st minute.

Jairo Arrieta and Barrantes' second in the 71st and 77th put the game out of reach for Cuba, which like their Caribbean counterparts Haiti, weren't sharp in front of goal, with only three of their total 18 shots on target.

The group stands have the United States and Costa Rica on three points, with the US playing Cuba and Costa Rica playing Belize on Saturday, July 13 from Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.