Dwayne De Rosario delivered a much-needed boost to D.C. United's playoff hopes with the quickest hat trick in MLS history.
Looking to score in a third straight game, De Rosario will try to help his team move into playoff position when D.C. visits the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night.
De Rosario, acquired from New York on June 27, has scored 10 times in 13 games with D.C. (9-8-11). His performance in a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday was one of his most memorable.
The midfielder recorded all three of his goals in a span of nine minutes and assisted on Andy Najar's tally that opening the scoring. De Rosario took over the league lead with 13 goals.
"The thing with 'De Ro' is, I'm not even surprised anymore with some of the stuff he does," coach Ben Olsen said of the 33-year-old Canadian, who has 90 goals in an 11-year career with five teams. "This is what he does and this is why we wanted him."
Olsen's club could use more offense from De Rosario during a three-game road stretch, part of a span in which United play five times in 16 days.
D.C. is one point behind New York for the final wild-card spot.
The Union (9-7-13) are third in the wild-card standings, two points ahead of United. Philadelphia has gone 1-0-4 in its last five and is 6-1-8 at home.
Sebastien Le Toux's goal in the 64th minute forged a 1-all draw with Sporting Kansas City on Friday.
"For whatever reasons, we've played some of our best soccer when our backs have been against the wall," defender Danny Califf told the team's website. "I don't know how to explain it. We'd like to get a lead and hold it obviously. This team has a lot of character up and down. I know we'll be ready to play on Thursday."
Philadelphia has allowed one goal over its last three games, but Le Toux has netted the team's only two goals in that stretch. He has recorded seven of the Union's last 10 goals.
Le Toux's hat trick lifted Philadelphia over D.C. 3-2 in the Union's inaugural home game April 10, 2010.