Clint Dempsey’s second career United States hat trick was possibly the most impressive he’s ever scored for club or country. Consider that it came in a must-win match, after a more than seven-month national team hiatus, didn’t require a penalty and featured two goals that were as impressive as any he’s scored for the red, white and blue. He also became the oldest player to score a USMNT hat trick of any kind and the oldest player from any country to score a hat trick in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, according to ESPN’s Paul Carr.
What’s especially interesting is that it’s not even particularly close. The 34-year-old actually already held the USMNT record for oldest player to score a hat trick when he bagged three in the 2015 Gold Cup against Cuba. The only other players older than 30 to score hat tricks for the USMNT are Chris Wondolowski (30, vs. Belize in 2013) and Landon Donovan (30, vs. Scotland in 20).
More importantly, the trio of goals left Dempsey just two goals shy of Donovan’s all-time USMNT scoring record. Of his 55 career goals, 24 have come since he turned 30. By comparison, just 11 of Donovan’s 57 goals came after he turned 30.