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Throwback Thursday: Chris Wondolowski adds a W, gets a hat trick against Belize

A jersey snafu became a good luck charm for the forward.

Belize v United States - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

When the 2013 Gold Cup began in Portland in July 2013, the United States were hoping to keep their train of wins rolling throughout the tournament. They were storming through World Cup qualifying, and they wanted to get off on the right start against Belize. Then-coach Jurgen Klinsmann turned to Chris Wondolowski to lead the team up top. What he found out was that there were plenty of Ws to go around.

Wondolowski began the game with a jersey snafu, as it was noticed immediately that his jersey included an extra W in his last name, spelling “Wondowlowski.” It was something that was taken in good stride, and for Wondo, it became a good luck charm. He showed it in the 12th minute, rebounding a Joe Corona header that was saved by the Belize goalkeeper to make it 1-0 early for the USMNT. It was Wondo’s 2nd goal for the USMNT, scoring his first one a few days earlier in a Gold Cup tuneup against Guatemala.

25 minutes later, Wondo struck again, taking a Kyle Beckerman cross and, diving across goal to the right, headed the ball in for goal number 2. A few minutes later, Belize got one back off a 40th minute goal from Ian Gaynair. But, Chris Wondolowski was not done.

Seconds later, Michael Parkhurst flew down the right flank and sent a cross into the box, which Wondo punched home for a 1st half hat trick and a 3-1 lead. It was the 15th hat trick in USMNT history and Wondo became the third player in USMNT to record a Gold Cup hat trick, joining Brian McBride and teammate Landon Donovan. Donovan, coincidentally, added 2 assists and a goal in the 2nd half to become the first USMNT player to score 50 goals and tally 50 assists in his national team career.

The USMNT would go on to win 6-1 in front of 18,724 at Jeld-Wen Field (now Providence Park). They would eventually go on to win the 2013 Gold Cup, winning every single game in the tournament. Wondo played the rest of the tournament and for quite a while with an extra W on the inside of his jersey, forever marking the day where 3 Ws on his back meant 3 goals in the net for the United States.