Dempsey's triple against Portland becomes fifth hat trick in Sounders FC's history

Five times in Seattle’s 167 MLS matches since 2009, Sounders FC has had a player score three goals in a match. Clint Dempsey is the newest inductee into Seattle’s hat trick club as he lead the comeback last Saturday in a 4-4 road draw with the Portland Timbers.

Here is a look back at Seattle’s five hat trick heroes.

Clint Dempsey

April 5, 2014 in a 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park

There hasn’t been a higher-profile signing in Seattle than when Dempsey signed with Sounders FC in August of 2013. It took until the final regular season game before he would get his first goal, though, as Seattle stumbled at the end of the 2013 season. However, he has started off the 2014 season on a tear and his performance on Saturday brought his resurgence to the forefront.

In MLS’s biggest rivalry match, Seattle fell behind, 2-1, before Dempsey got his first goal in the 24th minute, taking a feed from Obafemi Martins at the top of the box and putting it past former Sounder Andrew Weber. Portland took a 4-2 lead late into the match, but Dempsey took over the final minutes and put his stamp in the Sounders FC history books.He notched an 85th minute goal off another set-up from Martins and completed the hat trick and the incredible comeback by converting a penalty in the 87th minute as Seattle earned a 4-4 draw on the road.

Fredy Montero

August 25, 2012 in a 6-2 win over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center

In his first three-and-a-half seasons in Rave Green, Montero had six multi-goal games, but had yet to register the elusive hat trick. He had 34 goals in his first three seasons, led Sounders FC in scoring each year and earned All-Star and MLS Newcomer of the Year honors. And finally in a late-season match against Chivas USA, he would score three goals.

After already assisting on a Brad Evans goal, Montero got onto the scoreboard in the 27th minute, breaking behind the Chivas defense to take a pass from Mauro Rosales and cutting it past Dan Kennedy. Minutes later, he would repeat a similar run for his second goal, also taking an assist from Rosales on the 34th minute tally. After Chivas USA crept back into the match at 3-2, Montero put it back out of reach with his third goal, cutting around a defender before putting his shot inside the far post in the 67th minute. Seattle would go on to add two more to make it 6-2.

David Estrada

March 17, 2012 in a 3-1 win over Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field

Sounders FC had high expectations coming into the 2012 season after adding Eddie Johnson to the already stellar scoring squad from 2011 that included the continually emerging Montero. However, a hamstring injury to Johnson in preseason opened the door for Estrada, Seattle’s first round pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

Estrada’s first goal came on a scramble in front of the net and he fought and scrapped until finally putting the ball into the net for his first MLS goal in the 17th minute. He put his 51st-minute effort inside the near post for his second goal, then completed the hat trick on a return pass from Alvaro Fernandez, putting it past Milos Kocic as Seattle ousted Toronto FC 3-1 in the MLS regular season opener.

Lamar Neagle

August 27, 2011 in a 6-2 win over the Columbus Crew at CenturyLink Field

Lamar Neagle was used to flying under the radar. He wasn’t highly-recruited out of high school. He went undrafted after four years at UNLV. And after a short stint in Seattle in 2009, he spent the 2010 season earning his stripes with the Charleston Battery in the USL-2. There he exploded, earning the Golden Boot and league MVP awards before returning to Seattle and showing that he could play at the MLS level in 2011.

Like Nkufo’s hat trick, Neagle’s started with a fourth-minute goal against the Columbus Crew, this time in front of a crowd of 36,364 at CenturyLink Field. Neagle held off his defender up the left side and worked his shot past Hesmer inside the far post for the opening goal. A 21st minute volley off a cross from James Riley made it two for the Federal Way native and in the second half he finished off the hat trick with a blistering shot from the top of the box, hitting it off the bottom of the crossbar and in for his third goal of the match and a 5-1 lead.

Blaise Nkufo

September 18, 2010 in a 4-0 win against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium

Although Seattle had several prolific goalscorers in its first season in 2009, it wasn’t until the club’s 55th match that somebody finally scored three in one match. That came in Blaise Nkufo’s fifth match with Sounders FC. Nkufo came to Seattle after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he helped Switzerland to a 1-1-1 record that included a 1-0 victory over eventual champion Spain. A goal-scoring machine in his seven seasons with FC Twente in Holland, Nkufo had yet to get on the scoreboard in his prior four matches for Seattle, but made his first goal memorable.

On a fourth-minute corner kick, Fredy Montero had his initial effort saved by Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer. Nkufo’s putback effort was also saved, but a third shot found the back of the net for his first goal with Sounders FC. It started a barrage from the forward, as he took a pass from Zach Scott at the top of the box and netted his second goal in the 39th minute, then collected a well-placed pass from Steve Zakuani, dummied through by Fredy Montero, and finished the hat trick in the 75th minute as Seattle rolled to a 4-0 win in Columbus.

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