Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Crew confirmed for 2023 MLS All-Star game

Ted Unkel will referee his first All-Star game when MLS All-Stars take on Arsenal at Audi Field on July 19 (8PM ET).

He will be joined in the capital by assistant referees Ian McKay and Jeffrey Greeson, with Rubiel Vazquez named as the fourth official. Geoff Gamble and TJ Zablocki will provide support from the Video Operations Room, and Lyes Arfa has been selected as the reserve assistant referee.

Unkel made his MLS debut in June 2013 and has now officiated more than 160 regular-season games. He retired from the FIFA international panel at the end of 2021, and last year saw him take charge of 23 MLS regular-season games, the second-best tally of his career so far.

While this is his first major assignment in MLS, he has plenty of experience with showpiece games having refereed the 2014 NASL Soccer Bowl and then the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final a year later. In 2017, he was invited to China, where he took charge of the second leg of the Chinese FA Cup Final, and in 2021, he refereed the MLS Eastern Conference Final.

Ian McKay, the 2019 USL Assistant Referee of the Year, is approaching 100 MLS regular-season games and was AR for the USL Championship Final last year. Greeson steps up after being the reserve assistant referee for both MLS All-Star and MLS Cup in 2022, and FIFA official Arfa will provide support as the reserve assistant referee.

While this will be Vazquez’s first MLS All-Star appearance, he was fourth official for the 2019 MLS Cup and refereed the 2021 USL Championship Final. Gamble has been named as VAR and Zablocki as AVAR, having worked a combined total of 38 MLS games from the booth already this season.

This will be the second time Arsenal have featured in this game having beaten MLS All-Stars 2-1 in 2016, and the first time the All-Stars have played foreign opposition in Washington, D.C. The RFK Stadium previously hosted All-Star games against USMNT in 2002 and the last meeting between East and West in 2004.

MLS All-Stars vs Arsenal
Audi Field (8PM ET)
REF: Ted Unkel
AR1: Ian McKay
AR2: Jeffrey Greeson
4TH: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Geoff Gamble
AVAR: TJ Zablocki
RAR: Lyes Arfa

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