Fresh off his successful return to Mexico's national team after a multi-year hiatus, Carlos Vela is back to his old scoring ways with Real Sociedad.
Vela, who scored twice against the Netherlands in his first Mexico game in more than three years, netted a hat trick against Elche on Friday, tallying three times in 53 minutes in a 3-0 La Liga rout.
Vela had only scored twice in league play prior to Friday, netting single goals against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on August 31 and November 9, respectively. He had scored 30 league goals in the last two seasons for Real Sociedad, though, after settling into the club and making it his home following a lengthy loan ordeal from Arsenal, and he returned to feast mode in David Moyes' home debut as Sociedad's manager.
Vela opened the scoring in the third minute, powering home a header from inside the box after Carlos Martinez's pinpoint cross from the right.
For his second, in the 31st, Vela split two defenders to race onto a long ball over the top from Xabi Prieto, kept his composure with the goalkeeper rushing at him and one defender closing down from behind, and finished strongly with his left foot to double Sociedad's lead.
He finished off his hat trick in the 53rd, by receiving another pass from Martinez between two blocks of defenders and going to the far post–with the help of a deflection through a defender's legs–with his left foot from inside the Elche box.
With five goals on the season, Vela is his club's leading scorer and is tied for 10th in La Liga with the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Mario Mandzukic. The hat trick was his second with the club, with the other coming in a four-goal effort almost a year ago to the day, last November 23 against Celta Vigo.