Usually there’s a fine line separating comically bad sporting performances from pitiably bad ones. Then there is what New Zealand defender Meikayla Moore did in Sunday’s match against the USWNT, which vaulted clear over the comedic, sailed over the pitiable, and landed squarely in an indescribable zone inhabited only by the protagonists at the end of H.P. Lovecraft stories.
Moore was named in the starting lineup in the She Believes Cup match, and made an impact right away. In the fifth minute, she scored for the first time with a delicate right-footed toe-poke from a tight angle. Just 80 seconds later, she found the back of the net again, this time with a header she didn’t seem to know much about until after it smacked off her face. Thirty minutes after that, she completed her hat trick with a left-footed effort from inside the six-yard box. Four minutes later, she was subbed out of the game just before halftime. The substitution was a merciful one, because each of Moore’s goals had gone into her own net.
Not only was this a hat-trick of own goals—a feat matched, as far as I can tell, only by Stan van den Buys in a 1995 Belgian league game—but it was a perfect hat-trick, meaning one that includes a goal scored by one’s left foot, right foot, and head. Not only that, but it was also a flawless hat-trick in the German sense, meaning all the goals were scored in the same half without any other goals being scored in between. The performance’s badness was literally perfect. Absolutely brutal.