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Anatomy of a Hat Trick

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In the wake of Dempsey's Orlando magic act–the Sounders' fastest three-goal deposit in 10 years–a breakdown of Seattle hat tricks since the beginning of time (1974).

Clint Dempsey's hat trick at Orlando was Seattle's 31st since 1974. More have come against Portland than any other opponent.
Clint Dempsey's hat trick at Orlando was Seattle's 31st since 1974. More have come against Portland than any other opponent.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

How many ways can thee examine a hat trick? While delving deep into Seattle lore, let us count the ways.

You can do it early; you can leave it late.

Tommy Ord did the first Sounders trick in 1977, three games after arriving in a trade.

Cam Weaver completed his in the 34th minute. Three others required the full 90.

Five hat tricks started in the first four minutes. Mark Baena was scoreless for the game’s first 62 minutes, then… BOOM-BOOM-BOOM!

You can do it in a gallop; you can do it at a canter.

For Brent Goulet in ’89, it was as fast as 1-2-3; his hat trick started and finished in seven minutes. The longest hunt: 77 minutes from first to third for Chuggar Adair.

You can wait a month; you can wait for years.

Roger Davies achieved the feat twice in a span of 29 days. Entire Seattle teams have taken up to four years, 11 months.

In can happen in one half; it can happen in the other.

Weaver and Shawn Medved got three before halftime. Baena is among five to get it all in the final 45.

It can happen in league; it can happen in a cup.

Of 31 Seattle hat tricks, 29 have been in league, including the inaugural Western Soccer Alliance match of 1985 (Bruce Raney, at Portland). The others came in Open Cup and Champions Cup play. Still awaiting the first in postseason.

It can mean everything; it can be an after-thought.

Four hat tricks, such as Dempsey at Orlando, accounted for Seattle’s only scoring. Six were lost amid gushers of nine or more goals.

In the last Sounders home match of the NASL era, Peter Ward’s hat trick and Kaz Deyna’s brace comprised the entire 3:2 scoreline.

It can be your first; it can be your last.

Four hat tricks–Ord, Scott Benedetti, David Estrada, Blaise Nkufo–opened Sounders accounts. Rees Bettinger never scored in his following 14 games, Chugger Adair the next 10–their final seasons as Sounders.

It can come on the crest of a wave; it can end a drought.

Nkufo fired blanks for his first seven games. Peterson’s first ignited a run of scoring in five straight matches. Davies’s 4-goal game came during a record seven consecutive games scoring a goal.

It can be au natural; it can be part of a mess.

Nine Seattle hat tricks have been uninterrupted (aka, The Natural). Twenty-four featured in routs of at least three-goal margins.

You can be young; you can be not-so-young.

Weaver and Mark Peterson, then 20, were rookies. Blaise Nkufo, at 35, was seven games from retirement.

It can be once in a lifetime; it can be Le Two.

Hat tricks accounted for more than half the MLS career goals (five each) for Nkufo and David Estrada.

Baena’s hat trick of hat tricks leads the list. Five others did it twice, the last being Dempsey

It can be mundane; it can be akin to a Gordie Howe.

All three of Leighton O’Brien’s scores at El Paso (for 10-man Sounders) were drilled from the penalty spot.

The recipe for an Obafemi Martins Hat Trick: two parts goals, one part straight red. Takes just 11 minutes to serve up.

It can happen at home; it can happen in a Dome.

Memorial Stadium and the Kingdome, combined, make up 13 of the 19 at home. There’s been more joyous hats off at Providence Park (3) and its predecessors than the CLink (2). In all, four have been saved for Portland.

It can happen from (almost) any position.

While 29 of 31 have come from forwards, a midfielder (O’Brien) and, yes, defender (Kevin Bond), have also done the job.

You can be a native son; you can be adopted.

Ten of the hat tricks were scored by homegrowns (Bettinger, Chance Fry, Goulet, Medved, Lamar Neagle, O’Brien, Peterson, Raney, and Weaver). Four were by Brits and Californians.

It can be perfect and yet flawed, all at once.

Davies scored four: one with his right, two from his left and one off his head. His chance for an unprecedented fiver sailed wide with his penalty try.

It can bring joy to all (except Stumptown).

All but Dempsey’s 2014 Portland triple for the 4-4 draw resulted in a win.

Frank MacDonald is a Seattle soccer journalist and historian. This story first appeared on his website and has been republished here with his permission.