Chris Wondolowski put on a show against Belize, netting a hat trick, but it wasn’t the first time that feat has been accomplished for the U.S Men’s National Team in Gold Cup play.
Two players vaulted themselves to the top of the U.S. Gold Cup scoring charts after similar performances more than a decade earlier.
Brian McBride scored three first half goals in the 4-0 quarterfinal win against El Salvador in the 2002 Gold Cup.
“It feels really good,” said McBride after his Man of The Match performance. “It just so happened that I was in the right place at the right time. It feels good to score in the run of play and more so it’s great to get a few goals and keep our momentum going.”
The U.S would go on to win that edition of the tournament and make an unprecedented run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. McBride finished his career alone in third place on the all-time U.S. Gold Cup scoring leader with eight goals.
In 2003, Landon Donovan buried four goals in the 5-0 quarterfinal win against Cuba, and became just the fourth MNT player to score four goals in a game.
“It was just one of those days,” said Donovan in 2003.
One interesting fact is that Donovan and McBride both contributed to each other’s multi-goal performances, with Donovan assisting on McBride’s third goal and McBride returning the favor by assisting on Donovan’s first in 2003.
With Wondolowski’s three goals after four Gold Cup games (he played in three games in 2011), he’s quickly moved up the all-time Gold Cup scoring chart into a tie for sixth place with Carlos Bocanegra. But he still has a way to go before catching Donovan, who extended his overall lead to 14 after converting a penalty kick in the 76th minute against Belize.