Columbus Crew SC v Montreal Impact – MLS Cup Playoff, EC Semi Final 2nd Leg



GB at 2015-11-09 02:02:09

I have to say that I think referee Armando Villarreal has just had a terrific game!


He has continued the standard we have seen all day today on Ref Cam. His fitness was first class and he judged his involvement to perfection and raised his profile only when required.


This game was clearly NOT all about the referee and he controlled it with confidence and authority from start to finish whilst allowing the play to flow at all times.


Excellent body language and presence displayed throughout. I think this is definitely a performance which will not have done this referee’s international career any harm at all either if he can look so calm in such a big game.


The result was probably correct after what I felt was a wrongly awarded goal to Montreal in the first half. Take out that isolated incident and the referee was supported well by his assistants in this game, who both played full and active parts in a generally really good team performance by the officials.


All-in-all, a great day for officials on Ref Cam on both sides of the pond!


It was a real pleasure to comment on such a sound performance and now it is eventually GOOD NIGHT from me at 1 am GMT!

GB at 2015-11-09 01:58:02

My final summary will follow in a few minutes.


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


A list of all the big games coming up on YATR RefCam is always available at:


GB at 2015-11-09 01:54:24

Full Time

Columbus Crew SC 3 (4) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 01:50:41

there he is again perfectly placed to make his decision for that careless challenge


GB at 2015-11-09 01:49:52

AV still looks as light on his feet as he did in the first minute


GB at 2015-11-09 01:45:22

8 minutes of pure concentration required by the referee now


GB at 2015-11-09 01:44:18

GOAL! Kei Kamara (CC 23)

Columbus Crew SC 3 (4) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 01:42:41

AV still displaying those excellent confident signals which all referees would do well to emulate


GB at 2015-11-09 01:39:43

So often in cup matches in England the managers take an age to prepare their players to get the extra time started and turned around at half time in extra time and the referee is rarely as strong and assertive as this one in managing the events


GB at 2015-11-09 01:38:02



GB at 2015-11-09 01:37:10

1st half of extra time comes to an end


GB at 2015-11-09 01:36:19

that last advantage was in what we call the “red” zone for playing advantage.

Think of the field of play like a traffic light – RED at the back – YELLOW in the middle – and GREEN up front in attacking situations


GB at 2015-11-09 01:34:28

very strange place for the referee to play advantage then so deep into the defensive half but he got away with it as the play went straight up the other end for a corner

At least AV went back to issue theYellow Card yellow card for the foul by Nigel Reo-Coker (MI 14)


GB at 2015-11-09 01:32:36

very few of the players seem to be flagging yet as the pace is still full on


As I said earlier the referee certainly does not look like he will have any problems coping with the extra 30 minutes


GB at 2015-11-09 01:29:41

If I was a betting man I would not be expecting this one to go to penalties


GB at 2015-11-09 01:24:23

Marco Donadel (MI 33) had to be for that deliberate hand ball – unsporting behaviour


GB at 2015-11-09 01:22:28

Big call that one to start the extra time




GB at 2015-11-09 01:18:20

Extra time it is then and the teams will toss a coin again to see who restarts the game for another 30 minutes


GB at 2015-11-09 01:17:31

Full Time

Extra Time

Columbus Crew SC 2 (3) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 01:16:53

Yellow CardHassoun Camara (MI 6)

mandatory caution for unsporting behaivour


GB at 2015-11-09 01:15:27

correct start in law – dropped ball


GB at 2015-11-09 01:14:12

consistency shown by the referee there with another clash of heads. He had to wait for a split second or two just to make sure a shot was not taken on the goal – that would have caused a bit of a stir!


GB at 2015-11-09 01:12:22

minimum of 3 added minutes

Good spot by the referee with that clash of heads – just as I said – safety first is the order of the day now


GB at 2015-11-09 01:11:20

if it does go to extra time in won’t bother this referee whose fitness level is simply superb!



GB at 2015-11-09 01:08:59

AV just needs to ensure he does not try to be too clever now and give the free kicks to maintain his control


GB at 2015-11-09 01:06:17

Yellow CardMarco Donadel (MI 23) Delaying restart

AV continues to look like he is taking everything in his stride in this game and is not going to be intimidated by the players


GB at 2015-11-09 01:02:18

I think AR2 Lowry did really well with the Columbus second goal as the scorer was level with the second rearmost defender when the ball was played forwards before it rebounded from the goalkeeper


GB at 2015-11-09 01:00:11

which is precisely what they just did

GOAL!  Ethan Finlay (CC 13)

Columbus Crew SC 2 (3) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 00:58:34

Columbus will need to start thinking about throwing the kitchen sink at Montreal soon


GB at 2015-11-09 00:57:28

strange place for the restart after that foul on Drogba – unless he was fouled twice?


GB at 2015-11-09 00:55:31

disappointed to see the referee calling on the physio before asking the player if he required treatment then. It may be a small point but the standard practice is not to call the physio on until the player has been asked if he wants to go off for treatment


GB at 2015-11-09 00:52:42

Going back to the penalty call – it may not have been the most clear penalty ever given but the defender did hold his opponent and a free kick would have been given outside of the penalty area so it is a foul when the offence is committed inside of the penalty area


GB at 2015-11-09 00:50:08

Poor penalty by Kei Kamara (CC 23) and the goalkeeper saves


GB at 2015-11-09 00:49:15

That was a massive call, and to be fair to the referee I have been banging on about the need for him to be strong – well he was then!


GB at 2015-11-09 00:48:25



GB at 2015-11-09 00:48:03

The referee showing then that he is happy to squeeze the play towards his assistant, but he needs to be careful not to turn his back on him but to back away


GB at 2015-11-09 00:46:47

We often point out in Ref Cam that substitutions can change games so the referee needs to remain alert as the players change over


GB at 2015-11-09 00:44:47

AV looking very calm and controlled but he needs to be strong


GB at 2015-11-09 00:44:04

Wonderful advantage played there by the referee – his confidence must be rally sky high with the way this is going at the moment


GB at 2015-11-09 00:42:47

The reaction of the Columbus player to that free kick for a push from behind is the first sign of the Home team getting frustrated. The referee cannot afford to ignore this, he needs to be strong even if he does not issue a card he needs to assert his authority so he keeps this game just where he wants it


GB at 2015-11-09 00:40:43

AV showing that he was prepared to move across the penalty area then to get the optimum view as the attacked entered the penalty area. Just for the first time though I would have liked him not to have stopped so short of the penalty area


GB at 2015-11-09 00:37:58

the pace is still frenetic, but at least there has been no sign of the extra aggression I expected in the second half yet


GB at 2015-11-09 00:34:09

Everything about this referee’s body language remains sharp and alert – he just needs to ensure he continues to get all his decisions correct


GB at 2015-11-09 00:32:51

that type of positive pro-active communication by the referee can be very effective


GB at 2015-11-09 00:32:05

it is standard practice these days for the prudent referee to remind the defensive wall not to raise their arms


GB at 2015-11-09 00:30:57

that was a great example of what I just said – well done AV – just give it!


GB at 2015-11-09 00:29:16

There is no doubt in my mind that the pressure is going to rise for the referee in this game the longer it goes on and he would do well to give the odd “safe free kick” to keep the tempo under control


GB at 2015-11-09 00:26:47

Columbus get the second half underway


GB at 2015-11-09 00:25:48

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.


YATR’s Headline Blogger Keith Hackett salutes the work of Paul Rejer in his latest article and heralds the work of the PRO Official as a model example to the PGMOL in England as to how deliver a quality training program for their officials. Check out what Hackett has to say here, which also includes a link to the most recent PRO MLS Play of the Week: PRO Referees in MLS lead the way on education


I wonder if that Montreal goal will make it to Play Of The Week this week?



GB at 2015-11-09 00:23:09

Armando would have no doubt settled for that first half if it had been offered to him, but I just have a feeling this one could turn out to be a tinder box of a second half.


The Montreal goal looked like it should have been disallowed for off-side and that is going to fire up the Columbus players even more when they come out after half time. Armando needs to be aware of this and raise his profile as soon as the game restarts.


He handled the first 45 minutes very well. He did not strangle the game but stepped in with the first yellow card when it was required. I was just not convinced that he “smelt” the tension rise in the closing few minutes though. He is obviously a very competent official, but he will need to work hard to prove it in the second half of this one.


AR1 Parker had a good first half with one excellent delayed off-side flag in particular. Unfortunately AR2 seemed to make a mistake in not giving Dilly Duka (MI 5) off-side before he scored the equaliser for Montreal. The commentators may say the last touch was from a defender, but attacker was still off-side at the time the ball was last played by a member of his own team.

half time

GB at 2015-11-09 00:13:56

My half time summary will follow in a few minutes


Here are a couple of links to articles posted on our web site this week which capture the diversity of what You Are The Ref is all about:


News of the plans for the MLS to trial video referees broke a few weeks ago, and this week Patrick Barclay takes an interesting look into the lessons Football’s Administrators can learn from video technologies use in other sports whilst stating clearly that eventually  Video review is a ‘no-brainer’


Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural Youdan Trophy held in Sheffield this summer, plans are well underway for a much larger event in August next year. Tickets for the Youdan Trophy 2016 unveiling next week which includes the first public showing of a documentary on the first event can be reserved now. Check out full details at:  Mark Lawrenson in Sheffield to launch Youdan Trophy 2016 countdown


All the other content on our site continues to provide a deep insight into refereeing matters with video features and Blogs and regular contributions from a growing number of new well know characters from the world of football both at home and abroad.


The You Are The Ref Facebook page is also proving to be a great place to keep track on what’s new and is well work a “like” at


As always, YATR values your opinions on all the points raised by out experts via Twitter @youaretheref or email us at


GB at 2015-11-09 00:10:44

Half Time

Columbus Crew SC 1 (2) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 00:09:47

AR2: Craig Lowry (CL) on the far side will be glad to go in with at least one off-side decision right


GB at 2015-11-09 00:08:39

minimum of 2 added minutes


GB at 2015-11-09 00:08:12

there is just something about the way the intensity of the challenges has raised since that Montreal goal


GB at 2015-11-09 00:07:21

I have a feeling this game is going to reach boiling point in the second half so the referee needs to be ready for it when the players come back out


GB at 2015-11-09 00:05:43

replays have proved that unfortunately a mistake was made for that Montreal goal. The goal scorer was clearly off-side when the ball was passed to him to shoot


GB at 2015-11-09 00:03:55

GOAL! Dilly Duka (MI 5)

Columbus Crew SC 1 (2) v 1 (3) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-09 00:02:43

Once again the referee demonstrating the befits of a fast confident signal for a corner after a slight deflection


GB at 2015-11-09 00:01:46

AV brilliantly placed to spot that hand ball which meant he needed to stop the play then. The players certainly look like they have confidence in his decision making


GB at 2015-11-08 23:59:42

The foul count of only 4 in the first 35 minutes is not unusual for the MSL – but it is very low considering the commitment being displayed by the players. The referee should take a lot of credit for the way he has kept this game moving without stopping it unnecessarily


GB at 2015-11-08 23:55:29

If the referee had done anything less than a yellow card for that challenge he would have lost all his credibility along with all the good work he has put in so far


GB at 2015-11-08 23:54:18

Yellow Card

Gaston Sauro (CC 22)

Clear reckless challenge and well done the referee – you can’t manage those type of tackles



GB at 2015-11-08 23:53:09

The tempo is staying high in the game with plenty of attacking moves

There again there was a arm signal from the referee when the player went down


GB at 2015-11-08 23:51:38

It is so important for the referee to be seen to do “something” even if it is a discrete negative signal – what it does is lets all the players see that he has not “missed it” altogether


GB at 2015-11-08 23:49:49

The referee just showed that he had a trailing eye on that challenge in the Montreal penalty area then and waved a hand to say carry on no foul


GB at 2015-11-08 23:48:15

correction – I should have given AR1: Corey Parker (CP) credit for correctly giving the off-side a minute ago


GB at 2015-11-08 23:46:40

Good work by AR2: Craig Lowry to spot the Columbus player was off-side when the first shot came in and only signal for the offence when the ball rebounded from the goalkeeper – good lining


GB at 2015-11-08 23:44:49

So far Armando has pitched his profile perfectly. He let everyone know he was around in the early minutes but has not gone looking for trouble since them and has correctly just stood back and let the game flow at pace


GB at 2015-11-08 23:40:05

This referee is really setting a good example of how to use your body language to pro tray confidence and efficiency.

Excellent signals


GB at 2015-11-08 23:37:44

AV very quick and confident with his corner signal then


GB at 2015-11-08 23:36:20

Columbus have really come out of their blocks ready to make a game of this. All the signs are looking like a very exciting contest.


GB at 2015-11-08 23:35:03

Didier Drogba (MI 11) was my favourite player when I was on the Premier League – he was always such a gentlemen and I never saw him try to deceive the referee


GB at 2015-11-08 23:33:19

this game is being played at the fastest pace I have seen in the MLS this season


GB at 2015-11-08 23:31:34

The only way this game can end in penalties is if Columbus win by the same score as the first leg


GB at 2015-11-08 23:30:18

I have already spotted how fast this referee is “off the mark” – this is a great asset to have as it means that the referee is hardly ever found catching up with play


GB at 2015-11-08 23:28:36

GOAL!  Kei Kamara (CC 23)


Columbus Crew SC 1 (2) v 0 (2) Montreal Impact


GB at 2015-11-08 23:26:27

Always important not to let the firmest opportunity to make your presence felt slip by – particularly in a “big” game like this


GB at 2015-11-08 23:25:20

AV very quick to jump in there and make his mark after that clear careless challenge


GB at 2015-11-08 23:24:04

AR1: Corey Parker (CP) is patrolling the touchline in front of the technical areas.


GB at 2015-11-08 23:23:24

Columbus Crew SC won the toss so it will be Montreal Impact to kick off.


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 2015-11-08 23:19:18

Not long to go now as the players and officials line up for the National Anthams


GB at 2015-11-08 23:06:54

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.


YATR’s Headline Blogger Keith Hackett salutes the work of Paul Rejer in his latest article and heralds the work of the PRO Official as a model example to the PGMOL in England as to how deliver a quality training program for their officials. Check out what Hackett has to say here, which also includes a link to the most recent PRO MLS Play of the Week: PRO Referees in MLS lead the way on education


If you spot something in tonight’s game which you feel would be worthy of a shout for the Play of the Week this week, contact me on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at


GB at 2015-11-08 23:04:04

Rest of the Crew:

AR1: Corey Parker (CP)

Corey Parker officiated at his first MLS game in 2011 and he has  just reached 100 games at this level so far. Mr Parker is another newcomer to the ranks of FIFA officials, having also achieved international status at the beginning of this year. This is the 4th time this season that Corey has been in Armando’s Crew


AR2: Craig Lowry (CL)

This former FIFA Assistant, the vastly experienced Craig Lowry began his MSL career back in 1996 and has amassed 321 at this level, including 17 so far this season. This is also the 4th time this season that Corey has been in Armando’s Crew as well.  He is no stranger to the big games at this stage of the season having officiated at the MLS Cup on 4 previous occasions and the USA Cup once.


4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez (JG)

This is 7th time this season that Jorge finds himself holding up the board. He has also refereed 16 games in his own right.

GB at 2015-11-08 23:03:34

Regular You Are The Ref RefCam followers have already seen two great performances in the EPL today, so the stage is set for Armando to keep up the good work in this one. The last time I did a RefCam game with Armando, he showed significant potential in the middle and I was really impressed by his body language and movement. I have no doubt that he will be “up-for-this-one” today.


GB at 2015-11-08 23:02:47

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Armando Villarreal (AV)

AR1: Corey Parker (CP)

AR2: Craig Lowry (CL)

4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez (JG)



This will be Armando’s 15 MLS game for this campaign. He is no stranger to the Play Offs having already been in charge of Portland Timbers v Sporting Kansas City last month, to add to his 3 previous appearances in these crunch matches over the past 2 years. He made his debut in the MLS in 2012 and has already got 62 games under his belt as a referee at this level.


This Championship Semi Final appointment caps a wonderful year for the official so far after Armando was awarded his FIFA badge back in January. Since then he has been awarded 4 international appointments including a Friendly match between Mexico and Honduras, along with two FIFA WC CONCACAF Qualifiers – the most recent being Antigua & Barbuda v Guatemala September.


Here are the referee’s statistics for his MLS games this season:

Games Fouls awarded Yellows Reds Ave Yellow Ave Reds
14 424 47 2 3.36 0.14



Regular You Are The Ref RefCam followers have already seen two great performances in the EPL today, so the stage is set for Armando to keep up the good work in this one. The last time I did a RefCam game with Armando, he showed significant potential in the middle and I was really


GB at 2015-11-08 23:01:41

Well at least we know who the winners will be playing in the Eastern Conference Final now – that will be New York Red Bulls, have just won their second leg 1 – 0 (2-0)


GB at 2015-11-08 22:59:40

Columbus Crew


Columbus Crew

Steve Clark (CC 1)

Michael Parkhurst (CC 4)

Tony Tchani (CC 6)

Justin Meram (CC 9)

Federico Higuain (CC 10)

Ethan Finlay (CC 13)

Waylon Francis (CC 14)

Wil Trapp (CC 20)

Gaston Sauro (CC 22)

Kei Kamara (CC 23)

Harrison Afful (CC 25)


Tyson Wahl (CC 2)

Cedrick Mabwati (CC11)

Kevan George (CC 12)

Hector Jimenez (CC 16)

Aaron Schoenfeld (CC 18)

Jack McInerney (CC 30)

Brad Stuver (CC 41)


Montreal Impact



Evan Bush (MI 1)

Ambroise Oyongo (MI 2)

Dilly Duka (MI 5)

Patrice Bernier (MI 8)

Ignacio Piatti (MI 10)

Didier Drogba (MI 11)

Calum Mallace (MI 16)

Laurent Ciman (MI 23)

Donny Toia (MI 25)

Marco Donadel (MI 33)

Víctor Cabrera (MI 36)


Hassoun Camara (MI 6)

Dominic Oduro (MI 7)

Nigel Reo-Coker (MI 14)

Kyle Bekker (MI 18)

Eric Kronberg (MI 22)

Johan Vengas (MI 27)

Wandrille Lefèvre (MI 55)


GB at 2015-11-08 22:58:10

Here are the final positions for these two teams at the end of the Regular Season:

Final Eastern Conference Table

Pos Club Pld W L T Pts
1 New York Red Bulls 34 18 10 6 60
2 Columbus Crew SC 34 15 11 8 53
3 Montreal Impact 34 15 13 6 51


Current Form

Columbus Crew SC W L L W W L
Montreal Impact L W W W W W



GB at 2015-11-08 22:56:50

Its winner takes all today in this fight for the right to secure a place in this year’s Eastern Conference Championship. Columbus Crew SC earned the right for the home 2nd leg in this game as the highest seeded team between these two teams in the regular season.


No doubt Montreal Impact will be coming into this game feeling confident of joining New York Red Bulls or DC.C. United in the final, having taken the spoils from Columbus Crew on all three occasions they have met this year. Including last week’s 2 -1 victory in the first leg which completed five straight wins dating back to the regular season. This is uncharted territory for Montreal, however, as they have never reached the Eastern Conference Championship before.


Columbus Crew SC on the other hand have been here before on their way to their first Eastern Conference Championship back in 2008, when they went on to win the MLS Cup. The Crew will be hoping that home advantage will allow their fanatical fans to really get behind them and become their 12th man. The all-important away goal last week at Stade Saputo could prove to be vital for today’s hosts.


If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, the away goals rule will apply so as to be consistent with CONCACAF and FIFA practice. If the series remains tied, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The away goals tiebreaker will not apply to overtime in the second leg of any two-legged playoff series.


I don’t expect either coach to settle for anything less than 100% commitment in this one, so I think we could see some real passion on display on what will become the last game of the season for some players.


GB at 2015-11-08 22:55:38

Welcome to this 3rd live RefCam coverage today of the game between Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact to be played at MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

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

I am not entirely sure that this game is due to KO in the next 5 minutes, but we will be ready to pick up as soon as the game gets going.