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.