By Steve Hunt
When Tesho Akindele scored a hat trick for FC Dallas in their 5-0 blowout win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, not only did that performance by the FCD rookie striker make him a shoo-in for MLS Player of the Week honors, but Akindele, Dallas’ top pick in the 2014 MLS Super Draft (sixth overall) also did something only four other players in club history have done.
In fact, it had been over five years since FCD’s last hat trick, which came from Jeff Cunningham in a 6-0 win over Kansas City on August 1, 2009. Cunningham scored four times that night, in the 38th, 66th, 76th and 89th minutes, a performance which remains a single-season club record.
But Akindele joins the likes of Cunningham, Bobby Rhine, Jason Kreis and Dante Washington as the only players to record hat tricks in FCD history. Here’s a look at those other performances:
July 18, 1997-Washington Gets the Chapeau vs. San Jose
On July 18, 1997 at the Cotton Bowl, Washington, still rightfully revered as one of the bigger names from the Dallas Burn era, scored all three goals for the Burn in a 3-1 win over the Quakes at Fair Park. The Burn, then coached by Dave Dir, were in the midst of a four-game winning streak and this game was the third of those four wins. Washington finished the ’97 campaign with 12 goals, making the fact that one-fourth of those came in this one memorable performance all the more impressive.
March 20, 1999-Kreis Nets Three vs. Wizards
Long before he ever guided Real Salt Lake to an MLS Cup title in 2009 before moving to his current gig with New York City FC, Kreis was doing what he did best as a player, score goals. Not only does this three-goal outburst remain his only career hat trick with the Burn, but it also came on the opening day of the season as Kreis netted three of Dallas’ four goals in a 4-0 blanking of the Wizards. Oh, and this game was also played at the Cotton Bowl, where three of the five hat tricks in club history took place. Kreis finished the year with 18 goals and three in the opener is a heck of a way to start such an impressive season.
June 8, 2002-Rhine Leads the Way vs. Rapids
Before he ever moved to the back line or later to the broadcast booth, Rhine, who unfortunately passed away in Sept. 2011, was a striker and a pretty solid one at that. The former UConn standout delivered the third hat trick in club history in June 2002 when he struck three times as part of a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. Again, this hat trick came at the Cotton Bowl. It would be the lone hat trick of Rhine’s career, but considering how revered he continues to be among the FCD faithful, it’s definitely fitting that he’s on this impressive list.
Aug. 1, 2009-Cunningham, FCD Blitz Wiz
This Saturday night in August had plenty of intrigue. FCD was sitting seventh in the Western Conference standings, exactly where they’d been for much of the season, the first full campaign under Schellas Hyndman who was hired in June 2008 and the natives were restless. Some Dallas supporters even wore bags on their heads for this steamy August match at Pizza Hut Park. But Hyndman and FCD held their detractors at bay, at least for one night, with a stunning six-goal win over Kansas City. Cunningham struck in the 38th, 66th, 76th and 89th minutes while David Ferreira, who would be named MLS MVP the following season, scored in the 42nd and 78th minutes. In goal for KC that night was another player who figured into FCD’s run to MLS Cup in 2010, Kevin Hartman, who was in what would prove to be his final season with the Wizards before joining Dallas during the offseason.