DC United’s Luis Silva took the match-ball as his side won away to the Montreal Impact to move to the top of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
Silva hadn’t previously scored this season, but bagged a hat-trick in an opening 45 minutes that saw six goals.
Jack McInerney and Andreas Romero netted for the Impact, who also missed a penalty through Patrice Bernier, while Nick DeLeon grabbed United’s other in the first ever away win between these two teams.
With DCU having played out a goalless bore-draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday and Montreal the lowest scorers in the division, few would have expected such an explosive start.
It took just six minutes for the visitors’ previously blunt attack to pierce the Impact’s back-line through Chris Rolfe’s glorious reverse-pass – Silva slipping the ball under the onrushing Troy Perkins.
The hosts’ response was immediate. Hassoun Camara’s slide-rule pass found Jack McInerney, and the man who opened the scoring when the sides met last month fired through Steve Birnbaum’s legs, into the far corner.
Boosted by the equaliser, Montreal enjoyed an extended spell of possession that concluded with another goal.
A lovely team move saw the ball worked to Romero on the right, and he set off on a dazzling cross-field run past several United challenges, before steadying and rattling a powerful strike past Andrew Dykstra for his third in three matches.
The Impact had barely finished celebrating when they were back picking the ball out of their own net, as Fabian Espindola’s drilled cross from the right was redirected beyond a helpless Perkins by DeLeon.
And the Argentine creator was at it again moments later, squaring to Rolfe, whose deflected shot was palmed away by the goalkeeper.
However, Espindola was lucky not to see red in the 30th minute for a petulant off-the-ball kick on Felipe Martins. The former New York Red Bulls forward was subsequently booked, though referee Mark Kadlecik didn’t specify the reasoning behind the caution.
Home captain Bernier then came close to restoring his side’s lead, but a sumptuous free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar and bounced harmlessly behind.
It was DCU who grabbed the game’s fifth goal though, again through Silva.
The American carried the ball forward from half-way, and with the Montreal defence backing off, he curled home from 25 yards. And there was still time for the 25-year-old to complete a first-half hat-trick.
From an Espindola set-piece, Birnbaum collided with Camara, and Kadlecik awarded a penalty. Silva stepped up and placed his spot-kick high to the goalkeeper’s right.
It was the first three-goal salvo of his career, and he wasn’t done there – creating the first opening of the second period.
The former Toronto FC forward’s out-swinging corner was thumped goal-wards by Perry Kitchen, and Felipe had to clear from under his own crossbar.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Impact were offered a route back into the game.
The referee’s previous penalty call may have been contentious, but he had little option when Davy Arnaud handled Marco di Vaio’s flick following a frantic goalmouth scramble.
Bernier took charge, and though his effort was firm, it struck the upright before ricocheting to safety off the prone Dykstra.
Espindola and Silva having been substituted, the visitors were offering very little going forward, but the division’s bottom team couldn’t muster another meaningful attack and the scoring finished at 4-2.