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Cool heads key in MLS Cup – Alan Kelly pleased with crew’s performance

Cup finals require cool heads from officials, and that’s exactly what the PRO crew possessed in Toronto on Saturday night according to MLS Cup referee Alan Kelly.

The Irishman was assisted at BMO Field by Frank Anderson (AR1) and Joe Fletcher (AR2), while Allen Chapman and Danny Thornberry were on fourth and fifth official duties respectively.

The crew oversaw the Seattle Sounders’ success, which came in a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes of goalless action.

And Kelly believes the team of officials excelled throughout, in temperatures of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.22 degrees Celsius).

Read more: Toronto v Seattle – the second-coldest MLS Cup in history 

“The guys were great to work with,” the referee said.

“There was a good combination – the experience mixed with the youth of Danny, and myself of course!

“The game went really well from our point of view. Keeping cool heads is paramount in cup finals, and we wanted to make sure we kept them.

“Weather conditions were tough regarding temperatures but all participants had to rise above that.

“We could see the players were feeling the effects of the weather late in the game and we needed to try and stay on the move as much as possible to keep warm, letting the game flow. Adrenaline also played its part.

“Both Frank and Joe are excellent communicators; Allen was always on hand and assisted when necessary, as did Danny. It was a pleasure to share this experience with top class officials and good people.”

The MLS Cup brought the curtain down on what has been a thrilling 2016 season, and a stand-out year for Kelly.

His on-field accolades included being named MLS Referee of the Year, alongside Assistant Referee of the Year Anderson, and he also welcomed a new family member into the world, in daughter Quinn.

But Kelly isn’t one to dwell. He’s looking forward to some family time, before focus turns to 2017.

“It’s been a great year on the field for me, one I will always look back on with the fondest memories.

“It seems a strange thing to say but it’s in the past now. I have enjoyed it, but it’s time to move on.

“I will have a few well deserved weeks off now. My family and I will spend Christmas in the U.S. for the first time which we are looking forward to, but it will feel a little strange.

“Then it’s back into it and preparing for season 2017, and we go again!”

Image gallery: MLS Cup 2016 – click here to see the images

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