When your Designated Player striker scores a brace inside of 10 minutes, and gets his hat trick goal less than six minutes after the restart — as Taxi Fountas did for D.C. United on Monday night — you'd hazard a guess that it's going to be your night. But Orlando City SC had other plans in what turned into a wild contest at Exploria Stadium.

WATCH: 8-goal thriller! DC United hang on in Orlando

Taxi time

For more than a half, it looked like the night's narrative was going to belong to Fountas, who is approaching the double-digit goal mark with nine on the season, tied for second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race, after coming into the D.C United roster in March.

The expectation in D.C. is that the Greek international will be the chief engineer, and getting from six to nine goals on the season in just a little over a half of play is decidedly encouraging for interim head coach Chad Ashton.

"He's been that guy for us," Ashton said of Fountas after the match. "You know, anytime he gets in and around the goal, and we find him, he's putting the ball in the back into the net. So we've just got to be able to create more chances and get him finding more chances in and around the goal."


STAT: Taxi Fountas has nine goals and three assists in his first 10 MLS games, tied for the most in MLS history by a player in his first 10 career games, joining Adama Diomande, Kaku & Eduardo Hurtado.

Orlando won't quit

While the Fountas had an excellent individual performance to get the Black-and-Red out to a seemingly impenetrable 3-0 lead, Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara pulled the Lions back with two goals in four minutes.

That transformed the match into the enjoyable (for neutrals) chaos of the second eight-goal MLS match in just five days, following the popcorn-worthy 4-4 match between FC Cincinnati and NYCFC.

That's where Kimarni Smith and Nigel Robertha come in, with Smith scoring his first-ever MLS goal to extend D.C.'s lead to 4-2.

"I wanted to keep focused," Smith said. "The game wasn't over. I needed to focus because I know, innocently, you can go off and you can easily concede, and the game can change like that."

After Orlando again got it back to one via an 80th-minute penalty kick converted by Alexandre Pato, Robertha scored his first of the season deep into stoppage time to reverse the coming purple wave, as the Lions sought and nearly got an equalizer.

D.C. looking ahead

For Ashton, reaching the five-goal threshold was an encouraging sign, despite the nervy second half.

"They've trained really hard the past couple of weeks," Ashton said. "It's nice to see them get rewarded. And, hopefully, that builds a little confidence moving forward."

While Ashton did acknowledge the three second-half concessions as less than ideal, he added that "to score five goals is big time, and I think it's good for our guys to see the ball go in the back of the net."

Now that D.C. went to the brink and back, Smith feels they can take this momentum into a challenging next match with the Philadelphia Union on July 8 (7:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes) and in a challenging July stretch ending with a Lions rematch on the last day of the month at Audi Field.

"I feel like this will definitely give us momentum to go into the next game," Smith said. "We're gonna go in for the next game with a more positive mindset and more of a killer instinct."