Day 6 of the Gold Cup did not bring immediate goals in either of the two games, but both matches left football fans talking.
Neither Costa Rica nor Belize could tally a goal in their game's first 45 minutes. Meanwhile, it took Cuba and the U.S. much of the first half to see any results from their offensive efforts.
Cuba and the United States provided the day's most exciting fixture, with the former scoring the first of five combined goals in the game. Belize and Costa Rica did not see quite as many scores but did provide one of note.
United States 4, Cuba 1
This fixture did not look like it would turn out in the United States' favor through the first 35 minutes of play. Landon Donovan and company had little momentum for most of the first half and subsequently allowed Cuba to strike first.
Jose Alfonso Pita scored in the 35th minute for Cuba after a cross from teammate Ariel Martinez Gonzáles went deep in the U.S. zone. Here is a highlight of the goal, courtesy of Fox Soccer's Twitter account:
The game was all United States after Alfonso Pita's goal, however, with veteran Donovan providing his team's first goal via penalty kick just before halftime.
GOAL CUBA! Alfonso scores from a half volley against the USA. Watch: - http://t.co/SqfMJf1uiU— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 13, 2013
The goal was Donovan's 50th in his international career. MLS took the time to congratulate the Los Angeles Galaxy star by tweeting:
Joe Corona scored in the 57th minute, earning his first international goal for the U.S. and powering his team to a one-goal lead.
Chris Wondolowski scored the Americans' final two goals, with the first coming just eight minutes after Corona's. The MLS player was substituted into the game in the 58th minute and delivered his first goal in his first seven minutes on the pitch.
His second goal came in the 85th minute inside Cuba's penalty box after he received the ball off a deflected pass. With the two goals against Cuba, "Wondo" has now scored five in the past two matches.
Here's how Wondolowski scored the game's final goal, courtesy of Fox Soccer's Twitter account:
The U.S. will hope that Wondo can keep up his recent goalscoring streak in the next round. With the win over Cuba, the United States guaranteed its spot in the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
GOAL USA! Watch Wondolowski score his second goal against Cuba: - http://t.co/fVQGSsQGhz— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 13, 2013
After the victory, the USMNT Twitter account shared U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's thoughts on the game:
.@J_Klinsmann "We knew it was going to be tough with so many players behind the ball. We picked it up in the 2nd half and got the result."— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) July 13, 2013
Costa Rica 1, Belize 0
There was no score through the first half of this fixture, but Costa Rica eventually earned the narrow 1-0 victory.
Belize had an argument for a penalty kick before the first half ended, but the referees did not award one.
In the second half, Costa Rica narrowly missed scoring the first goal of the match in the first minute.
Instead, Costa Rica got that first goal in the 48th minute of play, which was aided by an error by Belize. Dalton Eiley scored an own goal against Belize to put his team down 1-0.
Here is the own goal highlight, courtesy of Fox Soccer's Twitter account:
After the own goal, Belize struggled to keep Costa Rica out of its defensive zone. Every time Belize was able to gain possession, it didn't take long for Costa Rica to get back on offense.
OWN GOAL BELIZE! Eiley puts the ball in his own net. Watch: - http://t.co/g2BtE3Etpz— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 13, 2013
Belize tallied just four shots on goal through 90 minutes of play. Costa Rica had more than four times its opponent's tally with 19 on the day.
The winners had two significant chances to extend their lead in the second half in the 55th and 88th minutes of play but came up empty both times. With the victory, Costa Rica is guaranteed to move on to the next round of the Gold Cup tournament.