FC Dallas starlet Ricardo Pepi made MLS history on Saturday night, becoming the youngest player to ever score a hat-trick in the American top-flight, during a 4-0 hammering of LA Galaxy.
The teenager dazzled in the destruction of their opponents, hitting three clinical strikes to notch his sixth, seventh and eighth goals of the season, and earn his first senior career hat-trick.
And in doing so, Pepi made history. At 18 years and 196 days old, Pepi became the youngest player to ever score a hat-trick in MLS history, taking the record set by Kekuta Manneh in 2013, who was 18 years and 283 days, according to MLS Communications.
The forward is blowing away the competition this season, having scored eight goals in just 14 matches. He bagged an important brace in a 2-1 victory over New England Revolution back in June, but his contribution against LA Galaxy was his most impressive in MLS to date.
Pepi has yet to feature for the United States Men’s National Team, although he has been capped at youth level, scoring six times for the USA’s Under-17 side. His explosive start to the new campaign will surely have caught the eye of national team coach Gregg Berhalter, after witnessing a masterclass in ruthless finishing on Saturday night.
The teenager kicked off the scoring with a wonderful bit of instinctive finishing, sneaking in between the centre-backs to receive a pass, kill it dead and stroke the ball into the corner. His second began with a stroke of fortune, as his header rebounded into his path off the back of a defender.
But there was no luck in the finish, as he blasted the ball mercilessly beyond Galaxy shot-stopper Jonathan Bond. And he completed his hat-trick in the second half, swivelling on a loose ball on the edge of the box and sliding it into the bottom corner.
Keep an eye on this one – the Dallas boy is talented.