ICYMI | MLS: Giovinco hat trick takes its place in history

Only two players have scored faster hat tricks than the one tallied by Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovincoin a 4-4 tie with New York City FC on Sunday.

1. Giovinco hat trick not the fastest in MLS history.

Amazing as it is for one player to score three goals in nine minutes, it’s not the quickest hat trick scored in MLS history.

Sebastian Giovinco’s trio in 34th, 40th and 43rd minutes of Toronto FC’s wild 4-4 tie with New York City FC ranks only third on the all-time list of speedy threes. Former Galaxy attacker Harut Karapetyan set the standard in the 1998 season by scoring three in five minutes during a 8-1 rout of the Dallas Burn. Alejandro Moreno rang up three for the Galaxy in eight minutes of a 4-2 victory over D.C. United in 2004.

Giovinco was unstoppable but far from perfect. He clanged a penalty kick off the post and missed one other excellent opportunity. Converting those opportunities would have tied him with Clint Mathis for the single-game record of five goals set in a 6-4 defeat of the Burn in 2000.

2. Lampard debut expected Saturday, turf permitting.

The NYCFC-TFC game drew a crowd of 27,533 to Yankee Stadium for what had been expected to be the MLS debut of English midfielder Frank Lampard. A calf strain suffered in training was cited as the reason for his exclusion from the game-day roster and instead he watched from a suite. The NYCFC midfield, also missing U.S. midfielder Mix Diskerud, still generated a fair number of chances but seldom thwarted the effervescent work of Giovinco, which didn’t please head coach Jason Kreis as TFC rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead.

He cited the second PK awarded to Toronto that Giovinco converted as perhaps the turning point. “That’s not a good enough reaction and we’ve got to continue to strive to improve because we need to be able to put 90 minutes together,” he said. “That always has to be our goal. I think in soccer, you’re never going to be dominant and the leader of the match for 90 minutes, but it certainly needs to be our goal.”

A foul by Mehdi Ballouchy provided TFC with its first penalty kick and seldom did the home team gain control of midfield. Kreis has not specified how the midfield will look once Lampard and Andrea Pirlo are incorporated into the system, but the experience and work rate of the former, even at age 36, is expected to shore up an area that has sprung a lot of leaks in NYCFC’s expansion season.

Lampard’s projected debut has been pushed back to this Saturday’s game against New England, unless the artificial turf of Gillette Stadium is deemed too big a risk.  

3. Surgeries sideline Hamid for at least a month.

Eastern Conference leader D.C. United won’t have 2014 Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid for at least a month, the team announced on Monday.

Separate surgeries were performed last week on his right hand and right knee. Arthroscopic surgery on his right knee repaired the meniscus, and another procedure released the flexor tendon of a joint on his right hand. His recovery time is projected as four to six weeks.

Hamid, 24, is in his sixth full pro season and leads MLS in save percentage (81.9) and goals against average (0.75). He is tied for fourth in shutouts (6) and is sixth in saves (59).

Backup keeper Andrew Dykstra has played five games this season and has a 1.29 goals-allowed average.

4. Mustivar’s ‘sombrero’ befuddles ‘Caps.

He was supposed to be with the Haitian national team for the Gold Cup group phase, but instead SKC head coach Peter Vermes negotiated an arrangement by which Soni Mustivar stayed with his club team.

Haiti national team manager Marc Collat instead picked former Timber and Chivas USA defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who was released by the Red Bulls in late June, for his 23-man squad. Mustivar, 25, mostly plays a holding mid role for SKC, yet his no-look, overhead lob to Krisztian Nemeth led to SKC’s goal in a 1-0 defeat of Vancouver.

The debate over secondary assists – the pass that precedes the pass that produces a goal – recurs periodically in MLS. He didn’t get credit for a secondary assist on the goal scored by Kevin Ellis on Nemeth’s feed and perhaps it wasn’t fully intentional, but it’s hard to top for originality and accuracy.

5. Fire's Cocis gets green card.

Nearly a year to the day after signing with the Fire, Romanian midfielder Razvan Cocis has received his U.S. green card and will no longer occupy an international slot on the team’s roster.

Cocis, 32, joined Chicago on July 14 of last year from FC Hoverla Uzhhorod of Ukraine. In 20 MLS matches (16 starts) he has scored one goal and recorded two assists. He’s played 50 times for Romania and last represented his country in November 2013.

There are two open international roster slots on the Fire roster. David Accam (Ghana), Adailton (Brazil), Guly do Prado (Brazil), Kennedy Igboananike (Nigeria), Joevin Jones (Trinidad), and Shaun Maloney (Scotland) fill six of the eight available spots.

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