LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders



GB at 2016-09-25 23:49:39

Here are the main talking points in respect to the officials in this game:

  • An overall competent performance was spoilt by a few surprises along the way. There was no doubt that Referee Armando Villarreal maintained control of this game, but there were times when his performance was not as polished as it could have been.
  • Three penalty shouts in the last 23 minutes including a holding offence which started outside of the penalty area and continued inside which was missed by all the officials.
  • Four minutes later and a VERY soft penalty was awarded when Steven Gerrard (LA 8) seemed to run across his defender and con the referee.
  • Superb fitness and movement from the referee ensured he could sell all his decision by being so close to the play – even getting close enough to “set up” the last Sounders goal.

In the first half I was not convinced that the referee’s game plan to keep things moving at all costs worked completely, as one or two offences seemed to go by unpunished which could have left the official exposed. In fairness, he came in at half time with the game in his pocket, but there was always the feeling that this one had a sting in the tail.

As Seattle Sounders set about building a 3 goal lead, the contest suddenly came to life in the final stages. All of a sudden, the officials found themselves in the limelight, having stayed in the background for the first 80 minutes.

In the 67th minute, the referee did really well as Roman Tórres (SS 29) made a “clumsy” challenge in his own penalty area. I think the defender just about managed to stop himself making contact with his opponent who went down early expecting the contact which did not come. It would have been so easy for the referee to give that one, but he did well to keep his tinder dry.

Three minutes later and AR1 Corey Parker was best placed to see Joevin Jones (SS 33) holding Robbie Keane (LA 7) by his shorts as he enters the penalty area but I must assume he missed the offence as no penalty was awarded.

Having turned down 2 penalty shouts for LA Galaxy inside 15 minutes, the referee seemed to buckle under the pressure and awarded a really soft one when Steven Gerrard (LA 8) conned him into thinking he had been impeded.

As the tempers and frustrations of the players started to materialise in the closing stages, the referee just began to show a few chinks in his armour as his normal excellent body language and composure was tested and looked a little ragged at times. The incident in the 88th minute in particular will definitely make good viewing with his coach after Alan Gordon’s (LA 9) reckless follow through into the Sounder’s goalkeeper whilst he was on his knees, sparked a minor coming together of a number of players. The referee did well to get his presence felt in the scuffle and seemed to be in the process of isolating the player, but he then just “melted away” and let them sort it out themselves. A quick hand in the pocket and a yellow card for Gordon would have been a much more positive response.

The right team definitely won this game, and there were many positive attributes about this referee’s performance on the day, not least his superb fitness and movement, which he utilises to such good effect.

A good test in the end, and one which I have to say he just about came through unscathed, but there were a few surprises along the way which referee Armando Villarreal would do well to reflect upon in preparation for his next game.

More RefCam to come

GB at 2016-09-25 23:04:17

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

Tomorrow night RefCam returns to the EPL for Burnley v Watford 8:00PM

Then on Wednesday 28th Sep, 8:00PM, we have Champions League action lined up for you with Arsenal v FC Basle

Then it’s back to the EPL next weekend:

Swansea v Liverpool 1st Oct, 12:30PM

Manchester United v Stoke City 2nd Oct, 12:00PM

Burnley v Arsenal 2nd Oct, 4:30PM

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


GB at 2016-09-25 23:03:10

Full Time

LA Galaxy 2 v 4 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 23:01:42

Referee Armando Villarreal will be happy with the way the added time is panning out following the tetchy last 10 in regulation time.


GB at 2016-09-25 22:59:48

minimum of 5 added minutes

Yellow Card for Alan Gordon (LA 9)


GB at 2016-09-25 22:58:35

Alan Gordon (LA 9) was lucky not to receive a caution for that clumsy follow through on the goalkeeper which looked reckless to me. I also felt that the referee could have done better after getting in so quickly, not to have moved away as the players were still pushing each other around.


GB at 2016-09-25 22:55:25

That composure I talked about earlier has just looked a bit ragged in the closing stages of this game as the tempo and temperature have both picked up.


GB at 2016-09-25 22:54:20

One penalty gets away, then we get a soft one – how often do we see that?

For me it looked like Roman Tórres (SS 29) “bought that one” by running into the defender.

GOAL!  Robbie Keane (LA 7) – it’s in the score-book now though. Could be a lively finish to this one

LA Galaxy 2 v 4 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 22:51:12

Yellow Card for Roman Tórres (SS 29) for unsporting behaviour in raising his arm to deliberately handle the ball


GB at 2016-09-25 22:50:03

AR1 Corey Parker will be disappointed when he sees that holding by Joevin Jones (SS 33) on Robbie Keane (LA 7) which continued into the penalty area and therefore should have resulted in a penalty kick


GB at 2016-09-25 22:47:03

what a GOAL! from Osvaldo Alonso (SS 6) – the referee gets an “assist” on that one but that’s what can happen when you get so close to the play – so close not too close is the key!

LA Galaxy 1 v 4 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 22:42:26

GOAL! Jordan Morris (SS 13)

Great work by AR2 Kyle Atkins on the far side as there was no offside in the build up

LA Galaxy 1 v 3 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 22:39:30

Steven Gerrard (LA 8) comes on for the last 20 minutes


GB at 2016-09-25 22:37:53

Massive call for the referee then as Roman Tórres (SS 29) makes a “clumsy” challenge in his own penalty area. I think he just about manages to stop himself making contact with his opponent who went down early expecting the contact which did not come. It would have been so easy for the referee to give that one, and with no Video referee it was just as well he didn’t


GB at 2016-09-25 22:35:06

Nelson Valdez (SS 16) less that 2 minutes on the pitch and the first reckless challenge of the games earns the second Yellow Cardwhich he gratefully receives and sportingly acknowledges


GB at 2016-09-25 22:32:11

That goal could really ignite this game so I am sure the officials are reminding each other to dig in now


GB at 2016-09-25 22:31:04

GOAL! Jordan Morris (SS 13)

There may have been a bit of 50/50 holding in the build up but not enough to stop play for me.

LA Galaxy 1 v 2 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 22:27:06

The referee was very close to that clash with Robbie Keane (LA 7) who clearly pulled the player back by his shirt which has resulted in the first Yellow Card of the game.

Excellent application again by this referee who went all the way back to show the card to the player with dignity and not just flash it at him from m”miles away”.


GB at 2016-09-25 22:24:19

Referee Armando Villarreal continues to keep his composure as he gives his signals and looks really confident as he goes about his duties


GB at 2016-09-25 22:21:52

Ashley Cole (LA 3) would definitely not have got away with that blatant dissent in the EPL this year. Without opening the debate on the merits of the clamp down in England, it has to be said that that the referee needs to be seen to be doing something when that happens, rather than just ignoring it all together


GB at 2016-09-25 22:17:35

Villarreal was in a good position to spot that push by the attacker in the penalty area and the game definitely has a bit more fizz in it already in this second half.


GB at 2016-09-25 22:15:00

Great to see the referee so focused on the players at that corner. So much about what makes this referee stand out comes back to his body language and presence with the players


GB at 2016-09-25 22:12:15

2nd half underway

GB at 2016-09-25 22:06:42

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GB at 2016-09-25 22:05:02

Referee Armando Villarreal has not had a particularly difficult game to keep the lid on so far, but he has kept it moving along with very little intervention and total control. If anything, I must admit that the foul count of just 6 so far was a bit low due to his eagerness not to break up the flow of the game. As a result, there were a few “safe” free kicks which he could have given when well placed to do so. And with the level of fitness on show, there is no doubt he was well placed! There is a phrase used in certain circle about the way to progress the days is to be “an athlete who can referee”, and that’s definitely the category I have always put this referee into.

With so much at stake for the visitors, there is just the chance that this one may warm up even more in the second half, so the officials need to be alert when temperature starts to rise.

So far, so good though.


GB at 2016-09-25 21:57:08

Half Time

LA Galaxy 1 v 1 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 21:54:34

Minimum of 2 added minutes for the hydration break


GB at 2016-09-25 21:51:50

Referee Armando Villarreal’s speed off the mark is an absolute joy to watch. Bit quicker than the Referee in the West Ham game earlier!


GB at 2016-09-25 21:48:43

Andreas Ivanschitz (SS 23) seemed to have a fair shout for a free kick before he was upended after that corner then. That’s what can happen when the referee is not giving the odd foul and the AR tries to mirror his tolerance level. Works great when the referee is pitching it right, but when he lets a few challenges past and the AR does the same, then it can get very untidy, and frustrating for the players.


GB at 2016-09-25 21:44:55

GOAL!  Jelle Van Damme (LA 37) OG!

LA Galaxy 1 v 1 Seattle Sounders



GB at 2016-09-25 21:42:19

Superb fitness displayed by the referee that time as he pops up in the penalty area after that very quick break


GB at 2016-09-25 21:41:14

2 minute break over which will obviously be added to the first half


GB at 2016-09-25 21:39:49

First hydration break now being taken


GB at 2016-09-25 21:39:10

The referee clearly wants to keep this one moving along as much as he can, but there have few incidents in the first half when I felt his efforts has meant that he failed to stop the game for foul play, but he seems to be back “on his game now” with those last two stoppages.


GB at 2016-09-25 21:37:01

Excellent body language displayed by Villarreal then in awarding that free kick on the edge of the penalty area then setting up the wall confidently


GB at 2016-09-25 21:33:11

Giovani dos Sandos (LA 10) seemed to have a good cause to complain then as he was deliberately blocked in his run towards the Galaxy Penalty Area. That’s 3 challenges I have not agreed with the referee so far in the first 21 minutes


GB at 2016-09-25 21:30:36

Another clear foul when a “little” tug back by Robbie Keane (LA 7) goes unpunished in the move before the one leading to the first GOAL!of the game by the same player.

LA Galaxy 1 v 0 Seattle Sounders


GB at 2016-09-25 21:27:01

Thanks to @Jackson_S_D and @elTav for the comments on Twitter about the latest Play of the Week about the pitfalls of manufacturing a drop ball restart – bring back a good old competitive one I say!


GB at 2016-09-25 21:24:09

Good early Offside signal by AR2 Atkins. Best to get the flag up early for those rather than risk a collision with the goalkeeper.


GB at 2016-09-25 21:22:46

Sebastian Lletget (LA 17) seemed fortunate to get away without a free kick being awarded against him then for that tackle from behind. The referee was well placed, and although the Galaxy player came away with the ball, he seemed to make contact with the player first, which makes it a foul challenge


GB at 2016-09-25 21:19:49

Good to see AR1 Parker coming to a complete stop before giving his throw-in signal – looks so much better than flagging on the move


GB at 2016-09-25 21:17:22

Referee Armando Villarreal likes to keep ahead of the play more than often, and is able to do this because he has the fitness to compensate if play quickly switches to the other end


GB at 2016-09-25 21:14:37

first free kick of the game given with a very positive whistle and a sharp positive signal – first impressions are so important in every game


GB at 2016-09-25 21:12:17

Nothing wrong with that “fair” charge made with the shoulder as described in the new glossary in the laws of the game


GB at 2016-09-25 21:10:27

Over 90 degrees out there, so we can expect a few hydration breaks and for the referee to think about conserving some energy for the later stages

GB at 2016-09-25 21:09:53

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


GB at 2016-09-25 21:09:17

LA Galaxy won the toss so it will be Seattle Sounders 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

Play of the Week

GB at 2016-09-25 21:05:11

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 examines what the Law states about restarting play via a dropped ball and highlights the pitfalls for a referee who tries to manufacture the outcome of this type of re-start. Watch here as Referee Silviu Petrescu make a right hash of trying to be too clever in the Real Salt Lake v Houston Dynamo game last week –  Play of the Week 28: Start and restart of play – Dropped ball – just imagine if Eric Alexander had already been cautioned in this game

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 2016-09-25 21:04:21

Referee:  Armando Villarreal (AV)

AR1: Corey Parker (CP)

AR2: Kyle Atkins (KA)

4th Official: Nima Saghafi (NS)


Today’s man in the middle was awarded his FIFA Badge last year and already has 7 international run outs under his belt, to add to his 73 MLS games in charge since he arrived in the Top Flight in 2012. This very fit and energetic referee will be relishing the opportunity to take charge of a game with so much at stake at this stage of the season as the fight for the play-off places really hots up from now on in.


The last time Armando came under my microscope was in November last year when I watched him take charge of Columbus Crew SC v Montreal Impact  in the MLS Cup Playoff, EC Semi Final 2nd Leg, and I have to say I was very impressed with his performance in that game, so I for one am really looking forward to more of the same today.


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
11 224 37 1 3.36 0.09

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2016-09-25 21:00:53

LA Galaxy


Brian Rowe (LA 12)

Ashley Cole (LA 3)

Baggio Husidic (LA 6)

Robbie Keane (LA 7)

Giovani dos Sandos (LA 10)

Brian Rowe (LA 12)

Robbie Rogers (LA 14)

Sebastian Lletget (LA 17)

Emmanuel Boateng (LA 24)

Jelle Van Damme (LA 37)

Daniel Steres (LA 44)


Dan Kennedy (LA 1)

Steven Gerrard (LA )

Alan Gordon (LA 9)

Mike Magee (LA 18)

A.J. DeLaGarza (LA 20)

Rafael Garcia (LA25 )

Landon Dovovan (LA 26)

Seattle Sounders


Stefan Frei (SS 24)

Tyrone Mears (SS 4)

Osvaldo Alonso (SS 6)

Cristian Roldan (SS 7)

Nicolás Lodeiro (SS 10)

Jordan Morris (SS 13)

Chad Marshall (SS 14)

Álvaro Fernández (SS 21)

Andreas Ivanschitz (SS 23)

Roman Tórres (SS 29)

Joevin Jones (SS 33)


Tyler Miller (SS 1)

Herculez Gomez (SS 9)

Nelson Valdez (SS )16

Nathan Sturgis (SS 18)

Zach Scott (SS 20)

Oalex Anderson (SS 39)

Oniel Fisher (SS 91)


GB at 2016-09-25 20:57:42

This is a massive game for the visitors today if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive for another week.

The seventh-place Sounders, who are five points behind Sporting Kansas City but hold two games in hand on both the sixth-place club and fifth-place Portland, rock up today with everything to gain and nothing to lose! They are not exactly at the last chance saloon yet, but failing to pick up a point at StubHub Centre would severely lessen their chances of qualifying for their eighth-straight play-off finish to the regular season. Unfortunately for them, they have the little matter of stopping LA Galaxy increasing their six game unbeaten run on a ground that they have not won at since 2009.

The Galaxy have plenty to play for, as well, as the second-place club and are unlikely to roll over without a fight, as they will clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Sounders. LA will also be looking to consolidate their top-two position in the West with an eye on a first-round bye in the upcoming MLS Cup Playoffs.

The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Robbie Keane scored the game’s lone goal to give the Galaxy the victory July 9 at CenturyLink Field. On July 31 at CenturyLink Field, Cristian Roldan gave Sounders FC a first-half lead, but Sebastian Lletget netted the equalizer 12 minutes from time to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw.

The teams have met four times in the last six seasons in the MLS Cup Playoffs, including in the Knockout Round last year; last year’s victory was the first time Sounders FC have advanced.

The teams also met this year in a US Open Cup quarterfinal on July 20, the Galaxy coming back for a 4-2 win at the StubHub Centre Track & Field Stadium. Giovani dos Santos netted the equalizer late in the second half, then Sebastian Lletget scored twice in the final minutes.

Western Conference Table

Pos Club Pld W L T Pts
1 FC Dallas 31 15 8 8 53
2 Colorado Rapids 29 12 5 12 48
3 LA Galaxy 30 11 4 15 48
4 Real Salt Lake 31 12 10 9 45
5 Sporting Kansas City 31 12 12 7 43
6 Portland Timbers 31 11 12 8 41
7 Seattle Sounders FC 28 10 13 5 35
8 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 31 9 14 8 35
9 San Jose Earthquakes 29 7 9 13 34
10 Houston Dynamo 29 7 11 11 32



GB at 2016-09-25 20:56:55


Welcome to this RefCam coverage of the Major League Soccer game between LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders.

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 following us from across the pond!