CONCACAF WCQ Appointments [Rs]

Discussion in 'Referee' started by MassachusettsRef, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #1 MassachusettsRef, Jun 9, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
    The first round of World Cup 2022 qualifying for the region occurred late March through tonight. Format was six groups of five teams, single round-robin (so half games home, half away). So 60 matches in theory, 56 in practice as St. Lucia withdrew to create an unbalanced group. Only group winners advance.

    Some people probably already know Tori Penso got a whistle a week ago (Puerto Rico v Bahamas). The only other truly noteworthy things are that with a couple exceptions, the bigger names didn't work this round at all (Marrufo, Barton, Ramos were all absent) and that the 56 matches were spread over ~40 referees. That last point should reinforce the idea from the other thread that politics is everything in CONCACAF. I guess it's also worth noting that most of the repeat referees were Americans who got two games because a bunch of these matches were played on neutral US soil and travel restrictions made assigning US referees easier. Anyway...

    Posting now because the final matches were played tonight and, remarkably, five of the six groups had matches between two teams that could could qualify as group winners on the final match day (though a couple situations were low probability for the underdog team). In effect, you had five single-game playoff matches to varying degrees all on the same day. These assignments were obviously made before that each match's context was fully known, but they were all made when the high import was a possibility. Figured it was worth looking at who got assigned:

    El Salvador : Antigua & Barbuda - HERRERA (CRC)
    Both teams were on 7 points heading in. Winner (El Salvador 3-0) advanced, though a draw also would have been enough.

    Canada : Suriname - SAGHAFI (USA)
    Both teams on 9 points. Winner (Canada 4-0) advanced, though a draw would have been enough. Played in Illinois so read into the assignment what you will.

    Curaçao : Guatemala - VILLARREAL (USA)
    This was maybe the big one. Both teams level on 9 points coming in with exact same goal difference. Match was drawn 0-0 so Curaçao advances on goals scored, 15-14. Interested in learning more about how this went because I imagine it was intense.

    Panama : Dominican Republic - LOPEZ (GUA)
    Panama on 9 points and DR on 7, so DR had to win. Panama won 3-0.

    Haiti : Nicaragua - MORRISON (JAM)
    Truncated group due to St. Lucia withdrawal. Both on 6 points. Winner (Haiti 1-0) advances, though a draw would have been enough.

    Trinidad & Tobago : St. Kitts & Nevis - ENCARNACION SOLANO (DOM)
    This one, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, didn't matter. T&T was on 5 points and St. Kitts on 9, so even with the win tonight Trinidad fell a point short.

    Now the fun moves to the two-leg second round playoffs. Home-and home over June 12 and 15 with the winners advancing to the Octagonal in September. Matchups are:

    St. Kitts & Nevis : El Salvador
    Haiti : Canada
    Panama : Curaçao

    Very curious to see who gets these six matches. You would think it's your top six referees but, well, it's CONCACAF.
     
  2. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The other interesting thing is that Guatemala was eliminated having not lost a game, and worse yet, not conceding a single goal in the round.
     
  3. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Effectively, the goal that won the group for Curaçao was the last one in an 8-0 win that occurred at 90+1’. One of those reminders that stoppage time matters.

    Oh, also Villarreal had a Guyanese AR2 because why would he want a familiar AR on a critical and potentially volatile match like this?!
     
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  4. Mikael_Referee

    Jun 16, 2019
    England
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  5. Mikael_Referee

    Jun 16, 2019
    England
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  6. Mikael_Referee

    Jun 16, 2019
    England
    Just watched the HL.

    Wow, what a thrilling and chaotic game for Villarreal! If you can spare twenty minutes (18:30ish), then the video clip is well worth watching.

    We all know about the ridiculous CONCACAF vision for refereeing but given the instructions, I thought the American ref was actually pretty excellent in this tie - always on top of the incidents, jumping in with both presence and cards when necessary (and only 100% necessary), excellent fitness and elegant gestures, verrrry high perception accuracy too.

    There were at least two clear red cards missed (ignored) 12' and 31', but we can hardly blame Villarreal for that. I think he is a big talent and if he carries on in this way, then I hope to see him as referee in a FIFA tournament where his disciplinary control doesn't have to be non-existent.
     
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  7. SA14mars

    SA14mars Member+

    Jan 3, 2005
    Dallas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He's already doing games for FIFA tournaments, had been for a while...

    Edit - first clip is not a red - both are challenging for the ball and it's simply a high boot. He gives him a lengthy warning in place of a yellow card, which is expected when it's 12' in and is proper game management at this level.
     
  8. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think there's a misunderstanding. What tournaments are you thinking about? Villarreal went to the 2019 U17s as a VAR. He's never refereed at a FIFA event to my knowledge.
     
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  9. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not casting aspersions on Villarreal, but I think people (including me) need to remember clips like this when they get on their high horse about CONCACAF referees from countries other than the US and Mexico missing or ignoring blatant misconduct.

    He either missed the severity of this incident (which is what I lean toward, given the lack of any card) or chose to ignore it because that's what CONCACAF expects. Either way, it's the same result as a non-American or non-Mexican getting the call wrong.

    The big question is how VAR handles something like this. Because, it's coming.
     
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  10. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #10 MassachusettsRef, Jun 9, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    I just watched it all. I'm torn.

    Grading on a curve, understanding this is CONCACAF, I think it was pretty good based on the available highlights. He never let anything completely bubble over and he was extraordinarily good on getting "on top" of incidents, as you say. With the apparent edict of giving cards only when they absolutely cannot be ignored, misconduct was, again, pretty good (though quibbles follow below). And let's not discount the environment and the ramifications of this match. It's not your normal match (though, in a way, any American referee who has made National status who has done amateur soccer in an urban area has had dozens of these games, so in some ways this was probably like a standard match from Villarreal's past). If we're talking simply about landing the plane for a major match in a volatile environment and seemingly doing it the way your bosses want, it appears he did very well.

    With that said, you stipulate that he missed two clear red cards. I'm not sure how he gets a pass on those if, say, he was being evaluated at a tournament. The second one is right next to him and he turns his head before the challenge occurs. The first one he either ignores or misses the severity of the foul. After watching the whole highlights, I now think he believed it was a yellow but chose to ignore it. Look at how he handles 6', 7' and 8':

    6' is a justifable caution against Guatemala, though understandble to elicit only a talking to
    7' is probably not a necessary caution in a vacuum, but it's a borderline "game disrepute" card right in front of the benches that gets a talking-to and is now the second incident in two minutes
    8' is, in my eyes, a necessary SPA/blatant holding card given it's the third flare-up in three minutes , but again, only a talking-to

    Each of the three incidents is against Guatemala but they escape a card all three times. Any referee is going to think twice before he then pulls the first card of the match against the home team at 12'. If Villarreal had a red, maybe things are different. But if he's got a yellow in his mind and realizes he's let Guatemala off the hook 2.5 times in 3 minutes, it’s easy to rationalize that Curacao needs an early "get out of jail free" card, too.

    The leniency for Guatemala painted him into a corner where he felt he had to be lenient with Curacao on a player who was guilty of--at the very least--borderline SFP. It's a reminder of the potential consequences of our early decisions.

    Aside from analyzing his performance generally on the truly big incidents, a few things stood out:

    29' what was the Guatemalan bench so animated about?
    54' is everyone okay with a no call there?
    90 + 4' what in the world was that foul? It seemed like a professional wrestling manuever. In some ways, I can't fathom the lack of a yellow card. In others, Guatemala wanted to play and no one complained, so I'm a bit in awe of Villarreal's ability not to blink and just let things truck along

    Also, I would say that overall it seemed like Guatemala's bench was unprofessional and the 4th was quite reactive (and that's just the highlights I could see here, so got to assume it was worse). In this regard, it was like an amateur match; that obviously needs to be cleaned up for tournaments and bigger matches.
     
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  11. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just noticed this edit. “Challenging for the ball,” “simply a high boot” and “proper game management” are three of the last phrases I’d used to describe what I see.

    Look where the ball is when contact is made. That is not two players challenging for the ball. Look at the point and mode of contact. That is not simply a high boot. That’s a red card in a vacuum and a dark dark dark yellow if you want to take into account match-related factors. That’s not a quiet talking-to once the body is off the floor.
     
  12. Mikael_Referee

    Jun 16, 2019
    England
    This informative account on Twitter (https://twitter.com/desigarbitrales) has the appointments for the Panama vs. Curaçao games - Jaime Herrera from Nicaragua for leg one, whom I have not come across, and Mexican Marco Ortíz for the return, who made quite a mess of a game like Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua at the last Gold Cup IIRC? Having checked, neither are attending GC 2021. :)
     
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  13. Mikael_Referee

    Jun 16, 2019
    England
    I think you managed to sum up everything pretty well, would only add:
    - at 50', the Guatemala player warned after those two LoR/SPA offences at 6' and 8', commits another, no sanction
    - I didn't notice it at first but the challenge at 90' which draws the yellow card is actually pretty crazy
    - my friend reckoned that the yellow card right at the end was for a crazy incident with a ballboy, but only guesswork


    This performance is fascinating to gain a clearer idea of what the CONCACAF vision is - I think in essence it can be summed up as total relativism (there is no such thing as a clear yellow card, maybe even red card, on a theoretical level - just reacting to the incidents as the players do) whilst intervening, slowing the game down as infrequently as possible.

    To be fair, you can't say that it didn't make this game exciting! And therein lies the problem, because that is essentially the metric to decide for CONCACAF, for FIFA (much less extreme than this), what is a good way of refereeing and what isn't. Of course, that's logical, but this way of handling the games is totally 'anti-refereeing' and too much, in my view anyway.

    Also I finally made sense of the CONCACAF fitness thing - with such ultra-lenient refereeing, if you can't sprint onto the scene quickly, you are f***ed! Villarreal would 100% have lost control of this game taking the same decisions if he wasn't a pristine athlete. So it is not an obsession on CONCACAF's part 'for the sake of it', to be fair, but an absolutely crucial and necessary part of successfully executing this way of refereeing.


    As a European 'idiot', my big question having watched this performance is - why isn't Armando Villarreal the top international referee from the United States? He impressed me waaaay more than Marrufo, Elfath and Saghafi, who seem as much as even far inferior to him, at least from my observations.
     
  14. jarbitro

    jarbitro Member

    Mar 13, 2003
    N'Djamena, Tchad
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is really well said. I think this might be wear the Hall training in CONCACAF is different than PRO/MLS. If your comment is true, it's almost like Hall has set out to create an army of Irmatovs.
     
  15. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Very good observations and analysis. Though, I think the last sentence is only correct because of the lax misconduct application that is encouraged. You can look at Villarreal and say "his fitness helped save him from bigger issues," but... 1) that isn't going to work in every match--the fact that both teams had a WC slot on the line until the final whistle was a huge advantage to him and 2) if carding general misbehavior/goonery wasn't apparently discouraged, the fitness component wouldn't matter as much. Pursuant to point #2 and to bring back another name from the past, I'd suggest Carlos Batres would have handled this match perfectly fine (if he was allowed to, of course!) and he wasn't exactly a svelt sprinter.

    On Marrufo, I don't think you can discount his family pedigree, his longevity in CONCACAF and--from what I understand--how much FIFA likes him and his trio. He may not be your cup of tea, but he does now have a gravitas when he enters an international field and the experience that can help him get through any big match. I wasn't sold on Marrufo earlier in his career and I still don't love some of his work, but I've come to appreciate it is in line with what FIFA wants and I think he's rightly the U.S.'s #1 international referee right now.

    Elfath is well liked because he's a former player with--in the eyes of those that matter--a feel for the game. Again, more and more I have come to see what others see in Elfath's game management abilities and his soft skills. However, with Elfath I don't think anyone who is paying attention can still deny that he has some clear LOTG deficiences. He makes a clear technical error often enough that it is a pattern. I've said many times in the past that it is what could trip him up at a big event.

    I've never got the impression Saghafi is ahead of Villarreal, for what it's worth. Villarreal had a somewhat tough MLS season (2019?) the year after having a couple good ones in a row. So maybe Hall and CONCACAF experimented more with international assignments at that point. But Villarreal went to a FIFA tournament as a VAR and, technically, was on the list for 2022 (I still have no idea how real that list is in practice). He feels like the clear #3 and was #2 before Elfath displaced him.
     
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  16. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What match is that?

    I really can’t wait to see how VAR is handled in these sort of incidents. But I’ve probably already said that.
     
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  17. El Rayo Californiano

    Feb 3, 2014
    Second leg of Cruz Azul and Arcahaie FC.
     
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  18. RefIADad

    RefIADad Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 18, 2017
    Des Moines, IA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I just watched the clip with my son. At live speed, he said, “How is that not at least a card??”

    “Son, it’s CONCACAF. Cards are an afterthought.”
     
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  19. Pierre Head

    Pierre Head Member+

    Dec 24, 2005
    Reading all these discussions and observations about the different characteristics and abilities of the present day referees, one point occurred to me.

    It used to be that a lot of the old-time referees were in the "tough-guy" take no nonsense mold.
    Of course Collina exemplified this but there were others including some in CONCACAF with a similar approach that I am sure many can recall.
    But it seems to me nowadays that many of the referees lack this type of personality and appear to be weak, and often do not stamp their authority on the match with the resulting consequences.
    Are the strong personality types being weeded out somehow in CONCACAF or are they just not there anymore?

    PH
     
  20. Pittsburgh Ref

    Pittsburgh Ref Member+

    Oct 7, 2014
    da 'Burgh
    Well to be fair the "no more of that" signal seemed earnest.
     
  21. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "Forget it Jake, its CONCACAF"
     
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  22. Pierre Head

    Pierre Head Member+

    Dec 24, 2005
    That comment sounds very familiar, where have it heard it before? :rolleyes:

    PH
     
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  23. roby

    roby Member+

    SIRLOIN SALOON FC, PITTSFIELD MA
    Feb 27, 2005
    So Cal
    That sounds like a drink from Starbucks. :coffee:
     
  24. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    St. Kitts & Nevis : El Salvador - MORRISON (JAM)
    Haiti : Canada - PITTI (PAN)
    Panama : Curacao - BONILLA (SLV)

    El Salvador and Canada both with away wins, so those two second legs seem less important. Panama takes a 2-1 lead to Curacao, though, so once again a trip there is the big one. That's the one that @Mikael_Referee reported would have ORITZ (MEX) on it.
     
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