Image: Brian Dunn on AR duty during the MLS regular season
The assignment of Brian Dunn to the 2016 USL Cup Final was the latest milestone in the career of the PRO official, and now he’s setting his sights on more.
In 2013, Dunn was given assistant referee duties for the NASL Soccer Bowl between New York Cosmos and Atlanta Silverbacks. Two years later, he took the flag for the MLS All-Star game against Tottenham Hotspur in Colorado.
And now, although he didn’t expect the call for the USL showpiece between New York Red Bulls II and Swope Park Rangers, Dunn has another final appearance on his resume. Two to go, then…
“It was a surprise getting the USL Cup assignment, but any time you get a final, it’s always a bonus. In your career as an official, you always want to referee in the finals so it was definitely a nice surprise.
“The crew and I discussed the teams, tactics and different refereeing styles that we may need to adapt to suit the game, and the two teams played very well and accepted the way we were refereeing.
“There were some challenges that maybe they were used to getting called during the season, but they realised we were letting them play more because it was a final. It was a very exciting match to be a part of.”
With the USL Cup Final complete – Red Bulls ran out 5-1 winners – it was quickly back to MLS for Dunn. An assignment to the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs soon followed.
The postseason game between LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake was just reward for the AR, who has enjoyed another fine season with the flag. Aside from an injury setback earlier in the year, Dunn has been the model of consistency throughout 2016.
“It’s always exciting to to be involved in the Playoffs. You work so hard all season, and you look forward to getting at least one game. The atmosphere is different, the players are different, it’s great to be part of a Playoff game.
“I suffered a minor injury mid-season which set me back a couple of weeks but other than that I had 18 games, all of them very successful, and I feel that it’s been another very good season for me.
“You want to have every final in your career – I’ve had the NASL Final, the All-Star game last year and now the USL Cup. That leaves the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup, so I’m still working towards getting one of those.
“I feel if I keep putting the time in and keep having great performances then hopefully that opportunity will soon come along.”