As he nears the end of what has been an MVP-caliber season, Earthquakes midfielder Dwayne De Rosario is a major reason why the Quakes are MLS Cup contenders. But before he became a sure-fire MVP candidate, the Canadian international helped jumpstart the Earthquakes toward the 2003 MLS Cup when he exploded for the fastest goal in MLS history and the second-ever hat trick in San Jose history on September 27, 2003.
It was a historic night for De Rosario, who registered a hat trick and notched an assist to give him seven points in the match, breaking the club record for points in a game. De Rosario and the Quakes started the scoring early, with the then forward netting the fastest goal in Major League Soccer history when he beat Dallas goalkeeper Jeff Cassar just 11 seconds into the game. De Rosario's goal shattered the previous league record set by the Revolution's Giovanni Savarese in 1999 by 11 seconds. Following a miscommunication by the Burn on the opening kick-off, Earthquakes defender Todd Dunivant sailed a long throw-in over the Dallas defense to an on-rushing De Rosario, who put the ball into the goal to give the Quakes the earliest 1-0 lead ever.
"Like I said, the floodgates are open now," De Rosario said after the game. "Now anyone can get a hat trick. Who knows who could get one next week. I was hungry. After that quick goal, I told myself, it's going to be an interesting game."
After a Dallas goal, San Jose responded immediately just three minutes later on another goal by De Rosario. Landon Donovan stripped the ball from a Dallas defender and broke in on the Dallas net. As Cassar and Hendrickson closed in on Donovan, he sent a perfect pass into the middle of the Burn penalty area where De Rosario slotted it home from 10 yards away to give San Jose a 2-1 lead.
"Dwayne is one of the best forwards in the league right now," Donovan said. "He is making my job a lot easier because he is drawing attention away from me and scoring goals and just playing great overall. I think that we are starting to become one of the best combinations in the league."
Dallas again tied the match on a goal from Ali Curtis, but then the Earthquakes took a 3-2 lead in the 24th minute on Donovan's 11th goal of the season. Donovan and the Quakes extended their lead in the 35th minute, setting the stage for De Rosario's third goal of the game. In the 48th minute, De Rosario found the back of the net, giving him the second-ever hat trick in San Jose history. De Rosario's seven points on three goals and one assist established a new Earthquakes single game point record. The Canadian international received the ball at the top of the Dallas 18-yard box on the right sideline from Chris Ronér. De Rosario turned and blasted a curling shot to the far post past Cassar to give the Quakes a 5-2 lead.
After Donovan recorded the first hat-trick in club history the week before, De Rosario proved more than equal to the task in keeping up with his teammate.
"It feels great. It's definitely a good feeling to get three goals," De Rosario said. "It felt good to just open up the floodgates. Landon [Donovan] opened the floodgates [last week against Kansas City], and I'm just trying to keep up with him."
As he proved with his two-goal explosion September 21, 2005 against Chicago, the floodgates are still open for De Rosario.