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2014 MLS Cup Playoffs - In focus: Semifinal second leg referees

Nov 6, 2014

Eastern Conference Semifinal second legs

The Semifinal second legs of the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs take place over the next few days, starting with D.C. United versus New York Red Bulls on Saturday at 2:30pm ET.

The head referee at RFK Stadium is PRO's Ismail Elfath, who has officiated 17 regular season games this year and was fourth official in the Western Conference Knockout Round game between FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Elfath took charge of a D.C. United's regular season match-up at Houston Dynamo last month, and was also in the middle at BBVA Compass Stadium when New York were the visitors in July, so he is familiar with both teams.

Alongside Elfath will be AR duo George Gansner and Adam Wienckowski, with Geoff Gamble as fourth official.

The other Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg sees New England Revolution and Columbus Crew clash, and that will be refereed by Armando Villarreal, who was in charge of last week's Eastern Conference Knockout Round that featured New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City. 

That took his 2014 assignment tally to 19, which is good progress for an official who made his MLS refereeing debut in 2012.

Peter Manikowski was alongside Villarreal in the Knockout Round and he has been assigned as AR1 on Sunday, with Corey Parker as AR2. The fourth official is Chris Penso, who is back in MLS action after officiating four games in the inaugural Indian Super League.

THE MEN IN THE MIDDLE

Ismail Elfath – D.C United v New York Red Bulls

Professional center official debut: Austin Aztex v Montreal Impact – NASL – 05/2009
MLS games in 2014: 17
Fouls awarded: 451
Cards issued: 54 yellows (3.2 per game average) - 6 reds (0.3 per game average)
Last MLS assignment: FC Dallas v Vancouver Whitecaps [as fourth official] – Toyota Stadium – 10/29/2014

Armando Villarreal – New England Revolution v Columbus Crew

Professional center official debut: New York Red Bulls v Chivas USA – 05/23/2012
MLS games in 2014: 19
Fouls awarded: 387
Cards issued: 34 yellows (1.8 per game average) - 5 reds (0.3 per game average)
Last MLS assignment: New York Red Bulls v Sporting Kansas City – Red Bull Arena – 10/30/2014

THE SELECTION PROCESS: 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs - assignments explained
 

Western Conference Semifinal second legs

In the Western Conference, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will contest their deciding second leg on Sunday at 7:30pm ET. The center referee at StubHub Center will be Jair Marrufo, who will add to his total of 17 assignments in 2014 – the latest of those in a regular season game between FC Dallas and Portland Timbers last month. 

Marrufo has officiated games involving LA Galaxy three times so far this year, most recently in July when they faced Portland Timbers, but he is yet to take charge of a game featuring Real Salt Lake.

Eric Boria and Adam Garner are the selected assistant referees, with the latter having worked alongside Marrufo on multiple occasions this season. The fourth official will be Juan Guzman.

The other Western Conference Semifinal second leg, between Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas, will be officiated by Baldomero Toledo, who earns his 20th MLS assignment of the season. 

Toledo has vast experience in refereeing postseason showdowns, having twice been the man in the middle for the MLS Cup Final, in 2008 and 2010.  

His assistants at CenturyLink Field will be Ian Anderson and Fabio Tovar, who have 38 assignments between them this season. Edvin Jurisevic will be on fourth official duty once more, having been on the touchline in the East Conference Semifinal first leg between New York Red Bulls and DC United. 

THE MEN IN THE MIDDLE

Jair Marrufo – LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake

Professional center official debut:  Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution - 05/10/2000
MLS games in 2014: 17
Fouls awarded: 315
Cards issued: 26 yellows (1.5 per game) – 2 reds (0.1 average per game)
Last MLS assignment: FC Dallas v Portland Timbers – Toyota Stadium – 10/25/2014

Baldomero Toledo – Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas

Professional center official debut:  Kansas City Wizards vs. Colorado Rapids -- 05/01/2004
MLS games in 2014: 19
Fouls awarded: 451
Cards issued: 68 yellows (3.5 per game) – 6 reds (0.3 average per game)
Last MLS assignment: Chivas USA v San Jose Earthquakes [as fourth official] – StubHub Center - 10/26/2014

Click here to see the MLS Playoff Conference Semifinal assignments in full


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