New York Red Bulls v DC United

Stacks of facts on Chris Pontius and other hat trick heroes


What you need to know this morning about hat tricks and Chris Pontius, the D.C. United attacker who had one in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.

Chris Pontius’ trio of goals Sunday against New York was Major League Soccer’s third hat trick this year. Seattle’s David Estrada hit one for Seattle and Thierry Henry claimed a threesome for his Red Bulls.

These aren’t exactly rare, but are hardly commonplace, either. Ten MLS hat tricks were recorded in 2011, including two apiece from D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario and Justin Braun (at Chivas USA then, now with Montreal.)

Back to Pontius: Sunday’s outburst was easily the young American’s best match since last September, when he had all three assists in a 3-0 win over Chivas USA. Of course, that was also the night he left with a broken tibia, not to return again until 2012. (United sorely missed its most reliable attacker through the 2011 season; The Black and Red’s season went into a death spiral from there and the club missed the playoffs yet again.)

Charlie Davies (remember him?) had the hat trick for United that night against Chivas USA. But they were fairly simple goals, mostly off the back-breaking hard work of Pontius, who really was soaring that night

And a little something on Pontius from United manager Ben Olsen, as told to the Washington Post: “He still doesn’t know how to play forward — that’s the scary thing. He’s still new at the position, and some of the movements can get a lot better, but three goals isn’t too bad.”

Enjoy video of the three goals (and shake your head in disgust at the absurd schoolboy defending on display from the visitors): 


Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.