Atlanta United v New York City


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-05-29 00:31:33


It may have looked like Referee Armando Villarreal got through that one unscathed, and managed to keep control of the game, but unfortunately I did not think his style was particularly convincing.

What appeared to be a consistent approach towards foul play, actually led to numerous foul challenges not being penalised. In a game with over 30 free kicks anyway, and a number of good advantages to boot, the stats speak for themselves that this was a feisty game at times.

Ultimately, I felt that the referee was not strong enough at times in this game, which led to the players taking matters into their own hands. This came to a head in the 65th minute, when RJ Allen blatantly kicked an opponent to the ground as he ran past him, with no action being taken. Although the referee was very close, the incident happened in a blind spot for him, but the severity of the offence made it very disappointing that none of the other officials saw it either. Or may be one of them did, but they were on the same wavelength as the referee? Setting aside the fact that nobody spotted it, the real thing to ask is why the player behaved in such a way? My view is that the referee came across as weak, so the players felt comfortable to challenge as hard as they liked. The second yellow card of the game in the 43rd minute, also followed a reckless challenge which could easily have been called as a kick, as it was so late.

So its all very well being supper fit, as this referee was, and its all very well reacting to acts of foul play (when you see them), but there was not much evidence of Armando Villarreal reading the signs of the player’s frustrations rising and therefore being more pro-active in heading off some poor behaviour the longer the game progressed.

This would definitely be a good game to sit down with his coach and go through the whole 90 minutes blow, by blow, and discuss where things started to get away from him, and subsequently how he could have manged those incidents better.

More Ref Cam this week

GB at 2017-05-29 00:07:26

#ATLUTD #NYCFC #MLS #atlvnyc

My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage this weekend and please keep your views coming on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

Next up for RefCam is what is often called the most “expensive game” in the world, as Reading take on Huddersfield tomorrow in the EFL Championship Play-Off Final, at Wembley KO 3.00pm LT.

Then we have another massive game in the European calendar, when Juventus take on Real Madrid in the Champions League Final from the Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales, KO7.45pm LT

Then it’s back to the MLS next Sunday for Atlanta United v New York City

A full list of forthcoming RefCam games is always available at:


GB at 2017-05-29 00:06:20

Full Time

Atlanta 3 v 1 New York City


GB at 2017-05-29 00:04:24

#atlvnyc #mls

Minimum of 4 added minutes

Yellow Card for Maximiliano Moralez (NYC 10) for unsporting behaviour, but once again that might have been violent conduct as he kicks the ball at an opponent after a foul is called against him.

The temperature of the game stays red hot right to the end and the referee is playing catch-up for most of it.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:58:30

It also has to be said that the level of teamwork has generally been good, apart from the major incident when nobody helped the referee out. That block by the Atlanta player looked like a foul to me right in front of AR1, but as the referee has not been giving those, then neither did the Assistant Referee


GB at 2017-05-28 23:54:59

used the pitch marking to good effect then to help him make his off side decision


GB at 2017-05-28 23:51:32

It must be said though that Armando Villarreal has not been short of confidence in this game, as he shows again with yet another advantage. There is nothing wrong with his advantages when he shows all the players early that he has seen a foul but has played on, it is just when a foul challenge is committed and play continues without a signal which have nor always been so popular!


GB at 2017-05-28 23:47:37

#MLS #atlvnyc

And there is another foul challenge from behind which goes unpunished. Again, I cant help saying that the referee has been consistent, the only trouble is there have been a lot of times when he should have been stronger.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:44:04

Good advantage played again in a great position on the field of play, but  Alexander Ring (NYC 8) really should have been cautioned the next time play was stopped. Once again that was just a sign of weakness from the referee


GB at 2017-05-28 23:39:42

GOAL!  Jack Harrison (NYC 11)

Atlanta 3 v 1 New York City

That could make the last 20 minutes very interesting …..


GB at 2017-05-28 23:37:58

#MLS #atlvnyc

RJ Allen (NYC 27) was guilty of violent conduct then as he first raised his arm towards an opponent then kicked out at him as he ran past him. Even though the incident was very close to the referee is was just out of his line of vision. That said, I have been saying for a while in my blog now that something was brewing. That kick should really have been picked up by one of the other officials (including the 4th official), as soon as they realised that the referee had missed it. Jeff Larentowicz (AU 18) gets a Yellow Card for the squabble after the even – but the main culprit gets away with it.




GB at 2017-05-28 23:30:05

Excellent advantage played – signalled with the “new” one handed signal – following a high boot. NYCFC were able to get into a clear attacking phase due to the actions of the referee.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:28:06

Fair play to the referee for not over-reacting when the NYCFC player tried to get a player cautioned for not retiring 9.15 metres at that free kick, but that was another sign of the frustration creeping into this game.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:25:26

#atlvnyc #mls

The game remains tetchy though with the players actions and reactions showing clear signs of frustration and aggression. The referee needs to read the signs and get hold of a few in a pro-active way, rather than wait for things to boil over then go in and do the mopping up.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:21:13

#MLS #atlvnyc

That was better recognition again by the referee as a similar strong challenge from behind from a NYCFC player this times receives the same punishment. There definitely feels like the referee has come out with a different attitude in the second half.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:17:56

The first sign of foul play with that strong challenge into the NYCFC players back was responded to correctly by AR1 and the referee simultaneously. Just what I suggested they needed to do early in the second period.


GB at 2017-05-28 23:16:00

New York City get second half underway

GB at 2017-05-28 23:14:05


Breaking news for the professional game in England this week, was the announcement by The Football Association of the implementation of retrospective punishment for players who successfully deliberately deceive the referee with acts of simulation next season. They will also have the power to rescind disciplinary sanctions erroneously issued to “offenders”, who actually made no contact with an opponent. Read what we thought of this announcement here: Retrospective punishment for diving next season

Anthony Taylor definitely didn’t need a third eye to spot a clear act of simulation in the FA Cup Final yesterday though – and quite rightly dismissed Victor Moses (C 15) for a second yellow card offence!

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-05-28 23:11:02

#MLS #atlvnyc

That was not an easy game for the referee in the first half, but he did not exactly help himself as he seemed to let the rope out for just about 5 minutes too long, which the players read as a sign of weakness. Subsequently, even though Armando Vellarreal tried to raise his profile, the challenges just got meatier and meatier! A couple of yellow cards did not really seem to reign it back in, with the second one in particular bordering on a red card offence.

To start with the referee was very consistence, but as the challenges got stronger, he choose to “go with it”, rather than but his foot on the game as soon as the signs were that the players getting more reckless than careless. I spoke about what can happen when teams play each other so soon after the last game, and this looks to have been a factor, as there looked like a few “old scores” were being settled out there.

The officials will need to come out with a stronger approach in the second half, otherwise this could get ugly!

GB at 2017-05-28 23:03:17

#ATLUTD #NYCFC #atlvnyc #MLS

You Are The Ref recently announced that the World’s Top Referee Mark Clattenburg has joined the team as International Academy Director. Mark @clattenburg1975, will be attending the Youdan Trophy in July/August and is already really looking forward to the coaching element of his new role with . As well as taking on a coaching role during the week long tournament, Mark will also be refereeing the final game, which will be a great thrill for the young players. For more details of this exciting development, please visit Clattenburg joins YATR.


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GB at 2017-05-28 23:01:54

Half Time

Atlanta 3 v 0 New York City


GB at 2017-05-28 23:00:44

The referee was well placed to spot that Sean Johnson (NYC 1) was inside his penalty area when he punched the ball away, despite his momentum taking him outside of the area. AR1 also did well to stay out of it, as the referee had the better angle of looking along the edge of the penalty area line.


GB at 2017-05-28 22:57:10

#atlvnyc #mls

That was a “very” reckless challenge by  Alexander Ring (NYC 8) for which he gets the minimum of a yellow card Yellow Card. That really could have been excessive force which would have been a red card


GB at 2017-05-28 22:53:29

That was a much better demonstration by the referee of making him self an angle as the players entered the penalty area that time. It may have been better if he kept the play between himself and his AR though, and he also made the cardinal sin of putting his whistle up to his mouth and not blowing it for some contact just outside of the area. Best practice is not to raise your whistle to you mouth unless you intend to use it.


GB at 2017-05-28 22:48:07


First Yellow Card Yellow Cardof the game goes to Michael Parkhurst (AU 3)  for unsporting behaviour following that clear holding which stopped a promising attacking move.


GB at 2017-05-28 22:44:32

Good to see a bit of man-management from our referee there as all the players need to be aware that he is coming to the end of his leniency. At the moment that public warning was all which was required but if you give out warning you MUST carry them through.


GB at 2017-05-28 22:40:25


30 minutes gone and Armando Villarreal has at least been consistent with his recognition of fair and unfair challenges. He has not always given the fouls everyone wants, but he is at least picking out the ones everyone is expecting. He has show excellent fitness but could do with giving himself a better angle in the final third IMO.

He has also started to get his presence across subtlety by increasing the volume of his whistle for challenges in the centre of the field of play.


GB at 2017-05-28 22:36:10

GOAL! Miguel Almirón (AU 10)

Atlanta 3 v 0 New York City

Excellent work by the officials again in the build up to the third goal as the NYCFC defender made a mistake and looked for the officials to give an infringement which he was not entitled to


GB at 2017-05-28 22:33:41

The NYCFC player seemed to make a great deal about the slightest of touches right in front of AR1 – who was quick to signal


GB at 2017-05-28 22:31:40

GOAL!  Hector Villaba (AU 15)

Atlant 2 v 0 New York City

I always had a feeling the Atlanta were going to be a difficult team to beat today.

Great not off side in the build up



GB at 2017-05-28 22:27:16

GOAL! Miguel Almirón (AU 10)

Atlanta 1 v 0 New York City


GB at 2017-05-28 22:24:38

AR1 showing good alertness again there by assisting the referee by making sure the player did not encroach too far along the touch-line before taking a throw in


GB at 2017-05-28 22:22:49

The intensity of the challenges is increasing in the centre of the filed of play. Armando needs to start slowing the tempo down a bit if he does not want this one to get away from him.

Much better off side decision that time by AR2 as the YNCFC player returns from an off side position


GB at 2017-05-28 22:20:38


AR2 Eric Weisbrod has not got off to a good start with two out of his first three off side decisions proving to be wrong. He needs to relax

GB at 2017-05-28 22:18:27

Good assistance from AR1 then with his signal for that high boot right in front of him


GB at 2017-05-28 22:16:27

Yamil Asad (AU 11) “gets away” with a warning from the referee then after that clear act of simulation – not sure he would have been that fortunate if that had happened in the penalty area? The main thing is that the referee at least did something, rather than turn a blind-eye


GB at 2017-05-28 22:13:43

As the all was pinging around in the Atlanta PA then, I was surprised the referee stayed so far out and square on to the play instead of swinging out wider to get a better angle and get closer to the play


GB at 2017-05-28 22:11:57

Game one – and a nice “easy” push in the back for our referee to stop play for in the opening seconds. Always important not to miss the early ones

Kick Off

GB at 2017-05-28 22:10:07

New York City won the toss so it will be Atlanta United to kick off. After a large hole has been fixed in the net!

Good luck to all the officials and may the ball run kindly for you!

Feel free to interact with me during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at


GB at 2017-05-28 21:55:54


#YATR are excited to announce that we have launched our new academy which is available to all referees from anywhere in the world. Sign-up now at YATR Academy for a platform like no other which will give you access to:

  • Webinars, downloads, blogs and presentations from top former FIFA and EPL officials.
  • Interactive scenario based referee e-learning tools.
  • Fitness plans and interactive Q&A section with former FIFA Sports Science experts.
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  • Advice and guidance on career progression.
  • Applications and invitations to live events, training camps scholarship programmes and Youdan Trophy Pro tournament.
  • Member-discounted partner benefits and shop including RefLive software.
  • Insight on the laws of the game.

Play of the Week

GB at 2017-05-28 21:53:28


Play of the Week

Every week, the USA Professional Referees Organisation’s  (PRO) Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer, selects an example from each round of fixtures to highlight best practice, or to offer specific educational advice to officials when situations could have been managed better or when application of law was found wanting.

The most recent educational piece covers two scenarios in the same incident, which we all learn in our basic referee training, but very rarely get the opportunity to implement – a Yellow Card for Dissent towards the AR, then a Second Yellow Card, followed by a Red, for re-entering the Field of Play without the Referee’s permission. I always tell my referees that sticking by the letter of the Law is the best policy whenever something unusual happens. There may be times when you can “manage events” within the Spirit of the Game, and use common-sense, but when faced with a black-and-white scenario where a disciplinary sanction is required, then it is always best to be strong.

Now, having highlighted this excellent training clip, I also need to point out that the letter of the Law was not carried out completely, particularly in respect to whether the referee needed to stop the game when the player came back on, and also with respect to the position of the restart. First check out the Play of the Week 12 – Re-entering the Field of Play – then read the following extract from Law 3:

If, after leaving the field of play with the referee’s permission, a player re-enters without the referee’s permission, the referee must:

  • stop play (not immediately if the player does not interfere with play or if the advantage can be applied)
  • caution the player for entering the field of play without permission
  • order the player to leave the field of play

If the referee stops play, it must be restarted:

  • with an indirect free kick from the position of the ball when play was stopped or
  • in accordance with Law 12 if the player infringes this Law


If you spot something in tonight’s game which you feel would be worthy of a detailed analysis, contact me on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at  and I will include the item in our very own  “The Verdict” section in our new Academy section of our website.


GB at 2017-05-28 21:46:17


Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Armando Villarreal

AR1: Kyle Atkins (Technical Area)

AR2: Eric Weisbrod

4th Official: Marcos DeOliveira


Today’s man in the middle was awarded his FIFA Badge in 2015 and already has 8 internationals under his belt, including the World Cup Qualifier between El Salvador v Mexico last year.

Armando arrived in the Top Flight for refereeing in the USA back in 2012, and has so far bossed 78 games in the MLS.

On the previous occasions I have seen this 31 year old referee perform I have been very impressed with his fitness, positioning and movement. He seems to have got off to a slow start this season as this is only his 5th game, compared with the majority of his peers who have completed 6 or more appointments by now.

I wonder if we will see the spray used to draw that “line in the sand” again today, as we did in the MLS RefCam game from last week?  Chris Penso became the second referee this season to use the tactic to warn players not to encroach towards his AR when they were having a private discussion. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero was the first to be seen demonstrating this in the game between Sporting Kansas City v Real Salt Lake which was featured in Play of the Week 9, and I was hoping he had set a trend with his genuine initiative. If you missed that one, you can watch last week’s example here:  Don’t cross the line!  Looking back at the FA Cup Final in England yesterday, there was a great opportunity for Anthony Taylor to have use the stray to keep the players away as he talked to his AR before making one of many excellent decisions to award the first goal, despite a signal from his wingman!

Here are the referee’s statistics for his MLS regular season games so far this year:

Games Fouls awarded Yellows Reds Ave Yellow Ave Reds
4 98 9 1 2.25 0.25


Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-05-28 21:43:23

Atlanta United

25     Alec Kann (AU 25)

2       Tyrone Mears (AU 2)

3       Michael Parkhurst (AU 3)

4       Greg Garza (AU 4)

5       Leandro González Pirez (AU 5)

10     Miguel Almirón (AU 10)

11     Yamil Asad (AU 11)

14     Carlos Carmona (AU 14)

15     Hector Villalba (AU 15)

18     Jeff Larentowicz (AU 18)

24     Julian Gressel (AU 24)


8       Kevin Kratz (AU 8)

9       Kenwyne Jones (AU 9)

16     Chris McCann (AU 16)

21     Mark Bloom (AU 21)

26     Anton Walkes (AU 26)

30     Andrew Carleton (AU 30)

32     Kyle Reynish (AU 32)


New York City

1       Sean Johnson (NYC 1)

2       Ben Sweat (NYC 2)

3       Ethan White (NYC 3)

4       Maxime Chanot (NYC 4)

5       Mikey Lopez (NYC 5)

6       Alexander Callens (NYC 6)

7       David Villa (NYC 7)

8       Alexander Ring (NYC 8)

10     Maximiliano Moralez (NYC 10)

11     Jack Harrison (NYC 11)

23     Roney wallace (NYC 23)


9       Sean Ugo Okoli (NYC 9)

12     John Stertzer (NYC 12)

13     Frederic Brillant (NYC 13)

15     Thomas McNamara (NYC 15)

25     Eirik Johansen (NYC 25)

27     RJ Allen (NYC 27)

99     Miguel Camargo (NYC 99)


GB at 2017-05-28 21:39:42


After the first ever meeting in the MLS 3 weeks ago, in which NYCFC came out of as comfortable winners, Atlanta get the chance to even things up on their own pitch today. The previous score-line actually flattered the hosts in a tight game in which Atlanta failed to adjust to the compact playing area. The larger field of play here at Bobby Dodd Stadium (whilst the amazing Mercedes-Benz Stadium gets nearer to completion), and a fifth straight sell-out crowd, should suit the home side much better. The experience gained from their first 11 games as one of this seasons expansion teams could also lead to a much closer encounter.

The 4 yellow cards picked up by Atlanta three weeks ago, in a techy game at times, were probably due in some parts to the frustration of the newcomers to come to terms with the obvious advantage of NYCFC in coping with their compact ground. Discipline could be the key again today, as there is no doubt that Patrick Vieira has ensured that NYCFC are playing with far more confidence and experience than you would expect from a team with only 2 years in the top flight under their belt.

When two teams play each other in quick succession like today’s scenario, it is always best practice for the referees to have done their homework on the previous game. These days, even at grass roots level there is no excuse for the officials not to be aware of any major incidents when the teams met before, as every club has a web site of Social media platform of one sort or the other. It is also very acceptable for the referee to call the official who did the first game to check out if there is likely to be anything “left over” from the last game, which they need to be aware of. Referees at all levels should NEVER “pre-judge” players or teams before a game, but that is completely difference than engaging in positive and professional, pre-match preparation.


Eastern Conference

Pos Club Pld W L T Pts
1 Toronto FC 14 8 1 5 29
2 Chicago Fire 13 7 3 3 24
3 New York City FC 12 6 4 2 20
4 Orlando City SC 13 6 5 2 20
5 New York Red Bulls 14 6 6 2 20
6 Columbus Crew SC 14 6 7 1 19
7 Philadelphia Union 13 4 5 4 16
8 New England Revolution 13 4 5 4 16
9 Atlanta United FC 11 4 4 3 15
10 D.C. United 12 4 6 2 14
11 Montreal Impact 11 3 4 4 13



GB at 2017-05-28 21:35:39



Welcome to this RefCam coverage of the Major League Soccer game between Atlanta United and New York City.

Feel free to interact with me at any time during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at and be sure to let me know if you are following us from across the pond!