Image: Baldomero Toledo, who referees Seattle Sounders versus LA Galaxy in week 18
There was just one Major League Soccer game in midweek after the assignments were published – Dave Gantar overseeing New England Revolution versus New York City – leaving another eight to be played out in Week 18.
Two of those will take place on Friday night, with Fotis Bazakos getting things under way at Camping World Stadium between Orlando City and Houston Dynamo.
Western Conference leaders FC Dallas then go to San Jose Earthquakes, in a game to be refereed by Juan Guzman, who will be assisted by Matthew Nelson, as well as Michael Kampmeinert. Guzman and Nelson will return to Avaya Stadium at the end of the month for the MLS All-Star game against Arsenal.
Saturday’s opening game kicks off at 3pm ET and sees Seattle Sounders take on LA Galaxy. Two-time MLS Cup referee Baldomero Toledo is the man in the middle, with Jeremy Hanson and Eduardo Mariscal running the line, and Baboucarr Jallow on fourth official duties.
Sorin Stoica and Silviu Petrescu, whose refereeing journeys both began in Romania, are then in action – they’re in charge at Philadelphia Union versus D.C. United and Toronto FC against Chicago Fire respectively.
The Revs’ second game in four days comes against Columbus Crew, with the well-decorated Mark Geiger in charge. A two-time MLS Referee of the Year, the 42-year-old most recently added the Copa America to his list of officiating honours. FIFA official Joe Fletcher will assist him, alongside fellow AR Kathryn Nesbitt.
Real Salt Lake’s game with Montreal Impact sees Ricardo Salazar take the whistle, and RSL’s Kyle Beckerman was the player involved in PRO’s latest Play of the Week, which focussed on how a referee should handle dissent.
Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids complete the Saturday line-up – Allen Chapman referees that with a crew of Mike Rottersman, Brian Dunn and Alex Chilowicz.
Sunday night sees both New York clubs in action. The Red Bulls host Portland Timbers, while Eastern Conference leaders City take on U.S. Open Cup holders Sporting Kansas City.
Kevin Stott – the 2005 MLS Referee of the Year and 2010 MLS Cup referee – is in the center at Red Bull Arena, accompanied by experienced ARs Craig Lowry and Peter Manikowski.
Lowry has been assigned to one U.S. Open Cup Final during his career, as has Manikowski, and they can boast six MLS Cup assignments between the two of them. In 2011, they were the two ARs on duty when the Galaxy defeated Houston 1-0 to claim the title.
Ismail Elfath handles the latter of the two, joining this year’s All-Star referee Chris Penso on a division-high 11 MLS assignments this season. Frank Anderson, AR1 for the match-up and also heading to the All-Star game in San Jose, runs the line for the 13th time, which is also a league high.
The NASL, USL and NWSL assignments can all be found at the links below: