In focus: MLS Cup Final crew
The 2014 MLS Cup Final will see LA Galaxy and New England Revolution lock horns at StubHub Center and PRO’s Mark Geiger will be the man in the middle, after the Organization named him head referee for Sunday’s clash (3pm ET).
The match will bring the curtain down on a thrilling MLS campaign and a remarkable year for Geiger, who became the first US referee to blow the whistle in a FIFA World Cup knockout round game before recently being named MLS Referee of the Year.
MLS REFEREE OF THE YEAR: Mark Geiger voted MLS Referee of the Year
The New Jersey-native has 13 MLS games under his belt so far this season with his most recent outing coming in the Western Conference Knockout Round at Toyota Stadium between FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Geiger last took charge of the Galaxy on October 25 at CenturyLink Field when they took on Seattle Sounders, while he oversaw the Revs’ game at Gillette Stadium against Portland on August 16.
Peter Manikowski will be AR1 on Sunday for his third assignment of the 2014 Playoff series and his second Cup Final honor having also run the line in the 2011 showpiece game between LA and Houston Dynamo. The assistant, who was voted second in the MLS AR of the Year poll, has taken to the field in 12 MLS games this term.
On the opposite touchline will be Joe Fletcher, who has been named AR2. The FIFA official worked alongside Geiger at the World Cup in Brazil and, on Sunday, he will once again be alongside his colleague in the officiating crew, for his 11th MLS assignment of the year.
Armando Villarreal has been in the middle for two games in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoff series, including New England’s Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg, and he will get his first taste of the Final at StubHub Center, as fourth official.
The experienced Chris Strickland, who was AR in the 2005 MLS Cup Final between the Revs and the Galaxy, is the alternate AR.
THE CREW IN FULL: Click here to see the PRO officiating crew for the MLS Cup Final in full
The PRO crew
Referee: Mark Geiger
Professional center official debut: Columbus Crew v San Jose Earthquakes – 05/29/2004
MLS games in 2014: 13
Fouls awarded: 341
Cards issued: 40 yellows (3 per game average) – 4 reds (0.3 per game average)
Last assignment: FC Dallas v Vancouver Whitecaps – Toyota Stadium – 10/29/2014
AR1: Peter Manikowski
Professional debut: Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls – 05/05/2007
MLS games in 2014: 12
Last assignment: New England v Columbus Crew – Gillette Stadium – 11/09/2014
AR2: Joe Fletcher
Professional debut: Toronto Lynx v Montreal Impact – 06/08/2003
MLS games in 2014: 10
Last assignment: Columbus Crew v New England – Columbus Crew Stadium – 11/01/2014
Fourth official: Armando Villarreal
Professional center official debut: New York Red Bulls v Chivas USA – 05/23/2012
MLS games in 2014: 20
Fouls awarded: 407
Cards issued: 34 yellows (1.7 per game average) – 7 reds (0.35 per game average)
Last assignment: New England v Columbus Crew – Gillette Stadium – 11/08/2014
Alternate AR: Chris Strickland
Professional debut: LA Galaxy v Kansas City Wizards – 19/05/1996
MLS games in 2014: 17
Last assignment: Sporting Kansas City v New York Red Bulls – Sporting Park – 10/26/2014