SANDY, Utah — Chris Wondolowski is making a case that he should be on the U.S. roster when World Cup qualifying resumes in September.
Wondolowski — his jersey name spelled correctly this time — scored two more goals to raise his total to five in two matches, and the Americans overcame a slow start to beat Cuba 4-1 on Saturday and advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals. He became the first American with five goals in one Gold Cup.
Landon Donovan tied the score late in the first half when he converted his second penalty kick of the tournament for his 53rd international goal. Joe Corona got his first international goal early in the second, and Stuart Holden made his first start in nearly three years for the U.S., which has reached the quarterfinals of all 12 Gold Cups.
The U.S. won its seventh straight game, tying a team record set in 2007.
While Wondolowski has led or tied Major League Soccer in goals in three straight seasons, he hadn’t scored for the national team in 11 appearances before getting his first in an exhibition win over Guatemala on July 5.
“I’m very confident in my play,” Wondolowski said. “Just even getting the goals is so huge. I’m feeling more confident in my passing and in my touch and things like that where it’s helping me to raise my level.”
Wondolowski scored a first-half hat trick in Tuesday’s 6-1 win over Belize, when his jersey was misspelled “Wondowlowski.”
He started this match on the bench, then replaced Herculez Gomez in the 58th and scored the final two goals in the 66th and 85th minutes. Superstitious, he had an extra “W” stitched on the inside of his jersey.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the 30-year-old was a bit disappointed he wasn’t in the starting 11.
“He’s hungry, and he’s working a lot,” Klinsmann said. “It’s not only that he has the instincts to know where the ball will be in the box. It’s also the runs he makes to open things up. It opens channels for the other guys.”
Wondolowski, Donovan and Holden all are making a case to be included in the player pool for World Cup qualifiers at Costa Rica on Sept. 6 and at home against Mexico four days later.
Donovan, a veteran of three World Cups, hasn’t played for the national team in 11 months before the Guatemala match because of injuries and a four-month sabbatical from soccer that ended in late March.
Holden made his first start for the U.S. since an exhibition against Colombia on Oct. 12, 2010. A knee injury the following March limited the Bolton midfielder to one club match in the next 22 months.