There are few luckier draws on the soccer calendar than playing Belize at your place.
The team is nicknamed the Jaguars, but in the parlance of the game, they're known as ''minnows.'' Belize is ranked No. 130 in the world. The Central American nation is the size of Massachusetts, with the population of Wichita. It has only been playing international matches since 1995, and the Gold Cup opener Tuesday night in a raucous Portland stadium was the Jaguars' first-ever appearance in a major competition. Their federation had to stage a telethon just to cover the costs.
It's one measure of how far soccer has come in these United States that the hosts were expected to crush Belize - and did.
The only suspense came after a wide-open Ian Gaynair headed in a cross in the 40th minute to pull the Jaguars back within 2-1. But Chris Wondolowski countered less than a minute later with his third goal of the opening half, so that by the start of the second, the only question left was whether U.S. c...