BRENT LATHAM - Saturday, October 10, 2009
What a surprise I got when I was sorting through the referee assignments for this afternoon and saw that the central judge for tonight's crucial US-Honduras would be none other than Roberto Moreno. It seems like a bad joke, but apparently there are only four or five international referees in the region right now, and the one permanently assigned to important US games is Moreno.

For those of you who don't know why this assignment is a bad one for the US, just think back to August in El Azteca. The Panamanian was so intimidated by the Azteca crowd and atmosphere that he might as well have Mexico's twelfth man. Think things will be any different when this homer refs in front of a packed house in San Pedro Sula tonight? There's no reason to.

CONCACAF refereeing is already a joke, even before a team can't avoid the same horrible ref in two straight, big road matches. Just the fact that an American is reffing the Costa Rica - T & T match, and a Mexican will be the judge for the final US match Wednesday in Washington, DC, screams of conflict of interest and would never be allowed anywhere else in the world. Where is FIFA in all of this?

Send us referees from another federation, or use a variety of officials from countries already eliminated. Much better to try someone new than stick with these same old, terrible match officials.
Tuesday October 13, 2009 8:55 am
Basically I agree with you, Brent. I must say, though, that I have seen a good replay of the 2nd Honduras goal and there clearly was NO offside. It was a good goal.
Monday October 12, 2009 12:31 pm
The US can win in CONCACAF even if the referee situation isn't ideal.

I'm more concerned what happens in the big international tournaments after the impact of a number of big calls against the US in Confederations Cup, big free kicks against the US on phantom fouls, a couple of high impact non-calls that would have helped, and the 3 questionable red cards.

Do CONCACAF refs rule against the US because we're a bully, and FIFA refs rule against us because we're still an outsider?
Monday October 12, 2009 12:15 pm
Spot on, and I agree 100% about CONCACAF officiating. But there is such a dearth of quality referees in the world today that the only change you would presumably be making is taking out (or should I say reducing) the possibility of influence from the home federation. While an outsider will presumably not be biased by the teams, they too may be influenced by the more intimidating crowds in our region.
Matt in Tampa
Monday October 12, 2009 9:00 am
I don't think the reffing was as bad as some would say. I would agree with some guy named termite when he points to the lack of yellows distributed by our Panamanian friend. Early in the match Landon was taken down from behind and it could have, technically, been a red card. But not even a yellow was given. On the flip side, and i'm going by memory here, i found i shocking that the ref only gave the US ONE yellow card and that was to Bambistein. The foul that lead to Hondo's free kick goal was not a foul, but Timmy could have done better. Likewise the foul that was called that lead to Landon's goal was not a foul either. The grainy replays suggested to me that Conner tripped over his own feet. Like termite (dry wood or subterranian?) guy i'd love to see a good replay on HOndo's second goal. I too thought there was an offside that should have been called. The PK seemed legit be/c Holden's arm was extended. Again, however, i'd like to see a replay. I was surprised that there was not much extra time given, which was something i was expecting in an away match where the home Concacaf team was losing.

Conclusion. I agree with your premise. There's got to be better refs. However, i don't think the reffing for this match was shockingly bad.
Pete Cardillo
Sunday October 11, 2009 1:10 pm
Brent, your prognostications were right on the mark. This crew tried as hard as they could to throw the game to Honduras with a dubious free kick on their first goal, a blatant offsides on 2d, and from what i could tell, dubious handling call on the PK. Add to all that the yellows that were not given especially first half when the whacked and hacked as soon as we tried to counter. Contrarians might say they allowed Casey's first goal when it could have been a foul on the keeper, and they disallowed the offsides Honduran goal, but to that, i say so what, they were simply the correct calls, and we didn't get more screwed.
Saturday October 10, 2009 7:07 pm
Brent you are so damned right on this score. The match at the Azteca was just not well officiated and the result is THE SAME Referee is assigned to do this crucial match, what a joke! With so many of our players sitting on a yellow card, this match could really decimate our squad for the final match in DC. If Donovan were to pick up that yellow, that might prove the difference between a win and a tie or a loss... this is a very real concern, and I'm amazed that it is being so under played by our federation.
I still would like an explanation why when we were playing at Trinidad, a fellow English speaking country, there was an officiating crew assigned from El Salvador!? Were there no Jamiacans?, no Canadians? and if not an English speaking crew, why one from one of the few left in the compition? How about a Guatemalan crew? This stuff just must be addressed... or at the very least, protested. Hey is anybody over there in Chicago paying the least attention to any of this!???

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