PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Chris Wondolowski's misspelled jersey was about the only thing that was amiss for the U.S. men's soccer team.
The national team jumped on Belize with Wondolowski's first-half hat trick and cruised to a 6-1 victory to open the CONCAF Gold Cup tournament Tuesday night.
Landon Donovan had a goal and two assists, becoming the first national team player with at least 50 career goals and 50 assists.
But Wondolowski, who just had his first international goal last weekend, stole the show, sporting an extra "W" - "Wondowlowski" - on his red and white jersey when he popped in his three goals against Belize.
Laughing about it afterward, he pondered whether he should wear it for the remainder of the tournament.
"I'm pretty superstitious, so we'll see what we can conjure up," he said.
Costa Rica defeated Cuba 3-0 in an earlier match at Jeld-Wen Field.
The 12-team Gold Cup is played every other year between national teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Group C teams next meet on Saturday in Salt Lake City, with the U.S. facing Cuba followed by Belize against Costa Rica at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Wondolowski is the third American to score three goals in a Gold Cup match, joining Donovan and Brian McBride. The United States has won four Gold Cups since the tournament's inception in 1991. Mexico has won the past two.
"It's just great to get the start, especially in front of some great fans, and they provide such an atmosphere that makes it exciting and it makes you want to go out there and play," Wondolowski said.
The U.S. men were coming off a 6-0 rout of Guatemala in San Diego on Friday, an international friendly to warm up for the Gold Cup. Donovan scored twice, extending his American record to 51 international goals.
That was Donovan's first match after a five-month break from the national team. He was not included on rosters for the U.S. team's June World Cup qualifying matches.
Wondolowski scored his first international goal against Guatemala. Tuesday night's match was just his 11th with the national team.
"I think Wondo realizes, `Every time I'm on the field, I have an opportunity, and I need to take advantage of it,'" U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said.
Belize was making its first Gold Cup appearance. The Jaguars, as they are known, qualified for the competition with a fourth-place finish in the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana.
The U.S. struck early when Wondolowski - who plays for Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes - knocked in a rebound off Belize goalkeeper Shane Orio in the 12th minute.
The United States relentlessly peppered Orio with shots and he made a dramatic save when Joe Corona fired at him in the 27th minute. But Wondolowski was able to get another one past him in the 36th minute to make it 2-0.
Belize scored on a penalty kick two minutes later when Elroy Smith fed Ian Gaynair for the header to beat U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
But Belize, a team made up of a mix of amateur and professional players, lost steam after the goal, coach Andrew Mork said.
"It didn't last long enough," Mork said. "And that really turned the game around for us."
Wondolowski added a third goal in the 40th minute.
The United States took a 4-1 lead in the 58th minute when Stuart Holden scored with an assist from Donovan, giving him 50 for his career.
Donovan got another when he passed to Michael Orozco for a header in the 72nd minute to make it 5-0. He got a goal - the 52nd of his career - with a penalty kick in the 76th minute.
"The crowd was great, the energy was great, I thought we started really well," Donovan said. "A little disappointed to give up a goal, but I think it was a great night for us, a great night for the fans and a good start for the tournament."
After the round-robin phase, the winners and runners up from each group, and the two top third-place finishers, advance to the knockout round. The Gold Cup tournament concludes July 28th at Soldier Field in Chicago.
It was the first visit to Portland for the U.S. men's team since 1998. Attendance was announced at 18,724.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Adam Wainwright picked up his National League-tying 12th win with seven scoreless innings and Matt Holliday hit his team-high 13th home run to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-5 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Matt Carpenter had three hits and drove in three runs for St. Louis, which has won four in a row and five of six.
Houston dropped its ninth in the last 11 and leads the majors with 58 losses.
Wainwright (12-5) improved to 13-1 in 15 career starts against Houston. His 1.56 ERA against the Astros is the lowest for any opponent. Wainwright allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked one. The right-hander, who will make his second All-Star appearance next week, has won seven successive starts against his former NL Central rival. His lone loss to the Astros was a 2-0 setback on Aug. 2, 2009.
Wainwright is tied with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann (12-3) for most wins in the NL.
St. Louis closer Edward Mujica struck out J.D. Martinez with two on and two out to pick up his 24th save in 25 opportunities.
The Cardinals, who jumped out to a 7-0 lead, battered former nemesis Bud Norris (6-8) for seven runs and 11 hits in five innings. Norris entered the game with an 8-5 mark and a 2.74 ERA against St. Louis.
Holliday slammed Norris' seventh pitch of the game over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead. Carpenter highlighted a three-run rally in the fourth with a two-run double.
David Freese broke out of an 0-for-11 skid with three hits for St. Louis, which has won its last seven home games against Houston. Daniel Descalso chipped in with a pair of doubles.
Freese and Descalso started the fourth with hits. Carpenter pushed the lead to 5-0 with a double that just eluded a diving Carlos Pena at first. Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI single.
Allen Craig added run-scoring hits in the sixth and eighth. He is second in the NL with 71 RBIs.
St. Louis reliever Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He has not allowed a run over the first 12 games of his career, a franchise record.
The Astros scored four times in the ninth. Jake Elmore and Jose Altuve had RBI singles.
NOTES: St. Louis right-hander Shelby Miller (9-6, 2.80) will face Jordan Lyles (4-3, 3.87) in the finale of the two-game series on Wednesday. ... The Astros are 8-8 in interleague play this season. ... Houston INF Ronny Cedeno left the game in the fifth inning after fouling a pitch off his left big toe. He is listed as day to day with a contusion. ... St. Louis C Yadier Molina returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with right knee inflammation. ... Molina and Houston catcher Jason Castro were each hit by pitches. Norris hit Molina in the fifth. Wainwright plunked Castro in the sixth, prompting home plate umpire Mark Wegner to warn both benches.
Julia Merfeld, a 21-year-old Michigan woman, is set to be sentenced on July 30 after pleading guilty in June to soliciting the murder of her husband, Jacob.
Recorded footage of Julia Merfeld soliciting an undercover cop posing as a hit man has surfaced on the Internet and has shocked viewers for how calm, cool and collected she is while planning the murder.
“When I first decided to do this … it’s not that we weren’t getting along,” she says on the video. “But … terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him.
"You know, I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It’s, like, how I [could have] a clean getaway.”
Furthermore, Merfeld told the fake hit man he’d be paid $50,000 out of the 27-year-old husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy that she would receive in the case of his death. She said she would pay him in a series of weekly $9,000 installments to avoid suspicion from her bank.
Suspicions of Merfeld's intention to carry out the plans were first raised after she told coworker Carlos Ramos she wanted her husband killed. Ramos originally thought she was joking and hoped the topic would never come up again, he told local ABC affiliate WZZM 13. But when she continued to talk about the plan in more detail, Ramos made the decision to go to the police, who set up the sting with the fake hit man.
Merfeld and the undercover Michigan State Police detective met two times – first to discuss the murder plot and once more so that she could show him directions to her house, a map of the outside, a floor plan and a photograph of her husband.
While Merfeld will reportedly be sentenced to a minimum of six years, her husband and intended victim asked that she get no jail time at all, the sentencing judge said in court at the time of her guilty plea.
Instead, Chief Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti set her minimum sentence at six years. The maximum can be anything up to life in prison, depending on Marietti’s decision at Merfeld's sentencing July 30.
The Crestwood Court Mall will soon be shuttering its doors for good. The 55-year-old mall, the oldest in St. Louis County, now has a sign on the door telling patrons that it will be closed for good on Thursday. Lens Crafters is the only store that will remain open. They have a separate entrance to the mall. Centrum Partners is the Chicago-based developer that owns Crestwood Court. Last year they proposed a $100-million plan to convert the area into an entertainment district, but the city Crestwood says the asking price of $34 million in tax increment financing is too steep a price.