Show-stoppers! The 6 best single-game scoring feats in MLS history
6. Edson Buddle, Columbus Crew
Sept. 18, 2004
The streaky striker scored 100 regular-season goals, netting 42 of those during his first five seasons with the Columbus Crew. His greatest night for the club sparked a 4-2 triumph in a first-place Eastern Conference showdown with the MetroStars, clinching a playoff berth, extending the Crew's unbeaten streak to 13 games, and providing the impetus to win its first Supporters' Shield.
Buddle would score 11 goals in 2004, his career-high before putting up 15 and 17 with the LA Galaxy, and the four goals here would push him to double digits for the second straight year. He answered MetroStars’ strikes with his first two, slotting home a Ross Paule feed in the ninth minute and nodding in Chris Wingert's cross seven minutes into the second half. The last two came from Jeff Cunningham feeds, a through ball in the 65th and another to find Buddle streaking up the right channel in 74th.
5. Brian Ching, Houston Dynamo
April 2, 2006
The Houston Dynamo started with a big bang thanks to Ching, who netted four goals in the club's debut, a 5-2 romp over the Colorado Rapids at Robertson Stadium. Dwayne De Rosario picked up assists on all four goals, and his chip also led to Alejandro Moreno's stoppage-time bicycle kick to complete the victory.
It was the first step toward back-to-back MLS Cup titles for Houston, which inherited a San Jose Earthquakes side that had won the Supporters' Shield with just four losses the year before. Ching, who would quickly become a fan favorite in Houston, where he would score 56 goals in eight seasons, was unstoppable on opening night.
He got a touch on a Wade Barrett shot to provide a 13th-minute lead, headed home a Brian Mullan cross to restore the advantage in the 37th, then headed in a De Rosario feed just before halftime. His fourth also was a header, from DeRo's corner kick in the 72nd.
4. Patrick Mullins, D.C. United
Sept. 23, 2017
The least likely name on MLS' four-goal roster? It might be this fourth-year striker, who hadn't tallied this season in 15 games for D.C. United after scoring eight times in 14 outings last year upon arriving from New York City FC. Then he went off on San Jose, putting a quartet away in the second half of a 4-0 rout.
Mullins, who had a hat trick against Chicago last season, set two MLS marks in one match. His four goals arrived in all of 31 minutes, the shortest span among the dozen examples, and no one had netted four in one half before. The onslaught pushed his career total to 22 and represented about 15 percent of D.C.'s league-low 27 goals over 30 games this year.
He got behind San Jose defenders to put away Paul Arriola feeds, the second with a header, in the 57th and 60th minutes, volleyed home the rebound after Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell parried Zoltan Stieber's free kick in the 68th, then bent a free kick from just above the box around the wall and into the lower left corner in the 88th. It was MLS' first four-goal performance since Jeff Cunningham's for FC Dallas in August 2009 and only the fourth in the past 15 years.