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World Cup Weekly: The USA's "Hat Trick Hero"

The latest in an ongoing series of weekly World Cup updates coming to you every Wednesday from the U.S. Soccer Communications Center.  As a build-up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the forthcoming articles are being presented to educate and entertain the U.S. Soccer Family about the great worldwide history of the tournament and U.S. Soccer as the U.S. Men's National Team prepares for the 2002 event in Korea/Japan this June.

72 Years Ago the USA's Bert Patenaude Scored the First Hat Trick in World Cup History

Bert Patenaude
Position: Forward
Caps/Goals: 4/6

The numbers behind Bert Patenaude’s brief U.S. Men’s National Team career are staggering.  In just four matches with the U.S. MNT – including three matches in the 1930 World Cup – hemanaged to paste his name at the top of the U.S. Soccer and the World Cup history books.

Bert Patenaude played just four matches with the U.S. Men’s National Team – all inside of five weeks in 1930 – but he is unquestionably one of the greatest scorers in the team’s history.  He tallied six goals in just four matches in a U.S. National Team jersey - the best strike rate of any player in the U.S. Men’s National Team history (outside of Aldo “Buff” Donelli, with a similar rate of 5 goals in 2 games).  And in just his second match with the U.S. Men he tallied three times to record the first hat trick in World Cup history.  His play in the World Cup in Uruguay led the U.S. to the semifinals and a third-place finish, which is still the top finish by the U.S. in a World Cup.

In the tournament opener against Belgium on July 13, Patenaude helped open the scoring, firing a shot off the crossbar that Bart McGhee finished to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.  Patenaude ended the scoring for the U.S. with a tally of his own in the 69th minute to wrap up the USA’s 3-0 win.

Four days later, the U.S. needed a win against Paraguay to win the group title and advance to the semifinals.  Patenaude gave the U.S. all the offense they would need, registering the first hat-trick in World Cup play in a 3-0 win.

Patenaude started his historic day with a goal in the 10th minute, and five minutes later he had a shot deflected into the goal by Paraguay’s Ramon Gonzales.  Originally ruled an own goal, FIFA later changed the decision and credited the American striker with the goal.  Patenaude concluded the hat-trick with a tally in the 50th minute, giving the U.S. a spot in the semifinals.

The U.S. run ended in the semis, dropping a 6-1 decision to Argentina on July 26.  The USA was scheduled to meet Yugoslavia in the third-place game, but the Europeans refused to play the match, allowing the U.S. to take home third-place honors.

Before returning to the United States, the squad stopped in Brazil for an international friendly on August 17.  The match was Patenaude’s last with the MNT, and it seemed appropriate that he closed out his National Team career by tallying twice - albeit in a 4-3 loss to Brazil. It would be nearly 68 years before the U.S. would score another goal against Brazil.

Patenaude also had a successful pro career in the American Soccer League.  He began his professional career in the USA with the Philadelphia Celtics in 1928.  He moved on to play for four more teams - the Fall River Marksmen, Newark Americans, New Yankees and New York Giants - from 1928-1931.  During his tine in the ASL, Patenaude scored 114 goals in 158 league games, while also leading the Fall River Marksmen to back-to-back U.S. Open Cup Championships (1930 & 1931).  Patenaude won his third Open Cup medal with the St. Louis’ Central Breweries in 1935.

Born Bertram Albert Patenaude on November 4, 1909 in Fall River, Mass.  The center forward was in inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. in 1971.  He died three years later in his hometown of Fall River, Mass. on November 4, 1974.