Orlando City v New York Red Bulls


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-04-09 23:41:58


Here are the main points in respect to the referee’s performance:

  • The Referee did not have a bad game by any stretch tonight, but there were a few areas which he could have improved on which he would do well to sit down and discuss with his coach.
  • Positioning wise, for an official who is clearly in a superb condition, it was disappointing to see him getting involved in the play so often and having to readjust his position to keep out of the way.
  • As the game progressed, the 24 fouls in the second half (38 in total in the game), completely spoilt the flow of the proceedings.

There is no doubt that this referee has a lot going for him. His general physique and demeanour, coupled with his fitness all bode well, but someone needs to sit down with him and watch this game through and see how he could improve.

For a start, he needs to look really hard at his positioning. I have always been an advocate that a referee can never in the wrong position, unless they miss something! Having seen so many assessments in the past which say, “you need to get deeper” or you  “need to get wider”, I have always considered this to be unhelpful advice, as it is so generic and unspecific. That said, the other aspect of the referee’s poor positioning which can be clearly seen, is when they get in the way of the ball or the players. A look back over this game by Ismail and his coach will be able to identify numerous times that this happened. Some basic coaching advice will soon sort that one out and keep him out of the player’s way and “give them their space to play in”, by reading the game better.

The other major concern I had with this performance, was the failure of the referee to change his tactics and manage the tempo in the second half. Yes I agree with the 3 cautions in the closing stages, but until there was no sign of the referee trying to “manage” the players beforehand. He simply reacted to the foul play rather than trying to prevent it. Of course you cannot always stop the players committing offences, but you can at least be seen to be trying. Even though I have been critical of the referee getting too close at times, there were other occasions when he would have done much better to move over to a player who had committed an offence to speak to him and given a sign to everyone else that enough was enough. Because this never happened the foul count just kept going up and up, as the players were in no fear of the consequences of their actions. I could tell at half time that this was in danger of happening.

A lack of variation in whistle tone with monotonous short peeps every time there way a foul just added to the impression that the referee lacked “presence” in this game. And for someone who possesses such excellent physical presence, then that was disappointing.

On a positive note to finish with, there is no doubt that the game was well controlled, but I think this referee has more to give and is not quite the full article yet based on this performance.


GB at 2017-04-09 23:06:57


Here at #YATR, we are all about education and have now launched our new academy, where you can gain access to top ex referees and sports scientists; experience #PL style training; and much more. Registration will remain open forever HERE, so why not join up now, and who knows? – it might just be the thing which gives you the edge in the promotion race …..

More Ref Cam this week

GB at 2017-04-09 23:05:36


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  Info@you-are-the-ref.com

Tomorrow night RefCam returns to the EPL for Crystal Palace v Arsenal, where all eyes will be on the Managers again for different reasons.

The it’s back to the ECL for the mouth-watering 1st leg or the Quarter Final between Atletico Madrid v Leicester City.

A full list of forthcoming RefCam games is always available at:  http://you-are-the-ref.com/ref-cam/


GB at 2017-04-09 23:04:38

Full Time

Orlando 1 v 0 New York Red Bulls


GB at 2017-04-09 23:02:46

Once again the referee is seen jumping over the ball in the centre circle, followed by a dreadful caution technique as the Yellow Cardcard is casually raised to wards Donny Toia (OC 25) for his holding offence, but there were other players around at the time.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:56:56

Minimum of 3 added minutes at the end of the regulation 90


GB at 2017-04-09 22:55:35


Luis Gil (OC 17) gets the second Yellow Card of the game for his reckless challenge, but that is precisely what I meant earlier about the reactive style of the referee the longer the game has gone on. Had he got involved a bit more and used his personality to manage the players, some of these constant fouls would not have happened and that type of reckless challenge could have been avoided.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:52:21

Having mentioned numerous times that the referee has been too close to the players at times, now he seems to be refereeing from a distance as his communication and man management has been non existent this half.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:50:28

The off side signal was unnecessary then from AR2 Peter Balciuas as the player in the off side position was never going to get involved with the play before the ball crossed the goal-line.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:48:20


The commentators here in England have just commented on the amount of fouls in the game. Glad it is not just me!

The problem is that the players are happy to continue to just keep fouling as the referee has fails to dish out ant final warnings!


GB at 2017-04-09 22:45:18


Another clear foul by Carlos Rivas (OC 11) as Orlando break out of defence goes begging as the referee is reluctant to stop the play again, then a clear reckless challenge at the other end does not result in a yellow card. This is starting to feel like it is getting away from Ismail, so he will need to raise his profile now in order to be proactive in the closing stages rather than reactive to ill discipline.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:41:29


That could easily resulted in the second yellow card of the game as the player made no attempt to play the ball but deliberately made contact with his opponent’s back.

I definitely get the feeling the intensity of the foul challenges is increasing so the referee will need to think about how is is going to deal with that in the last 20 minutes.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:35:20

Good backwards running again, but I have lost count of how many times this referee has needed to adjust his position at the last minute to keep out of the way!


GB at 2017-04-09 22:33:59

And then we heard a bit of variation for the next free kick!


GB at 2017-04-09 22:33:05


It is very evident from the referee’s short sharp whistle tone which is the same for every free kick, that he is desperate not to draw attention to himself unnecessarily in this game.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:29:26

Yellow Card Cristian Higuita (OC 7) gets the first caution of the game which could easily have been for either the foul or Dissent after the free kick was awarded. Either way, that came just at the right time for the referee to assert his authority.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:26:47

That looked like two fouls and Ismail would have done better to have penalised the first one.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:23:18


As the foul count continues to rise as predicted, I would like to see the referee start to begin dishing out a few warnings as to future conduct at least as the players are happy to consistently break up attacking moves.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:21:16

This game started with the referee getting hit by the ball in the opening minute and I mentioned at the time that that should not happen very often. There we saw the referee ducking out of the way again and his proximity to the players has been evident for the first 52 minutes. This will be a great game to review with his coach to see how he could read the game better.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:18:39

Fantastic sprint from end to end by our referee then – excellent fitness displayed


GB at 2017-04-09 22:17:16

As the referee is seen running right across in front of the players then on the edge of the penalty area, it seems like there is still some work in progress for Ismail to find the optimum position when play is in this area. The last thing a referee wants is to be hit with a goal-bound strike!


GB at 2017-04-09 22:14:11


A strong careless challenge early in the half reflects how I thought the Red Bulls would come out of the blocks in the second period. The referee needs to be ready for them.


GB at 2017-04-09 22:11:57

Red Bulls get second half underway

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-04-09 22:04:18


So far the referee has made a very comfortable start in managing this game. It is fair to say that is has not exactly been a challenging game in the opening half, but the main this is that the referee’s body language and composure have been good and he is communicating well with the players.

Positioning wise there have been a few occasions where Ismail has been sucked in too close to the players, but he seems to have realised it each time and made the necessary adjustments to his patrol path the next time.

With a foul count of 14 (8 Orlando / 6 Red Bulls) in the first half, it will be important for the referee to be alert to who the offenders are, to ensure this does not lead to particular players getting away with a lot of “little fouls” which generally break up the flow of play.

No need for the referee to raise his profile yet, but the visitors will no doubt start to up the ante in the second half so all the officials need to be ready to manage the tempo as the heat increases.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:56:50


Former Head of professional Referees in England and Director of YATR, Keith Hackett, produced a preview of the new MLS Season which talks about the 4 specific areas of match control which the outgoing head of PRO Referees Peter Walton, has announced that this year’s officials have been asked to focus on: Hackett’s Verdict on new MLS Season

As always, we value your opinions on all matters concerning referees from where ever you are following us around the world, so please keep your comments coming in on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at Info@you-are-the-ref.com

The New Look Ref Show will be back on Monday and is now available as a Ref Show Podcast as well as through the regular link from our website Ref Show and via a number of local TV Stations in England.

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  https://www.facebook.com/youaretheref


GB at 2017-04-09 21:55:29


Big call there from AR1 Kermit Quisenberry correct to call off side before the ball was kicked into the goal. Best practice is to stay there with the flag “out” until the ball is placed, and not put it down then “out” again.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:52:42

That was an interesting piece of communication with the Orlando player? Making the shape of a ball right in a player’s face is not something which many referee would get away with, or something I would recommend trying.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:48:33

Ismail has started to drift further away from his AR now and is utilising a good open body stance and side stepping action on his toes. This all adds to the impression that this referee is working hard on his positioning and movement.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:45:23

GOAL!  Servando Carrasco (OC 5)

Orlando 1 v 0 Red Bulls


GB at 2017-04-09 21:43:27

Considering how quickly this referee can get off the mark, I am surprised to see him getting almost caught up with the players so many times. It is all very well getting close to the play, but you dont want to get in the way.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:40:13


The referee continues to do well to pick off these “little” careless challenges, but he will need to start totting them up as the foul count reaches 11 in the first 30 minutes, so some offenders will need step managing to stop them becoming persistent offenders.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:37:35

Smart quick signal for ball out of play then by AR1 Quisenberry, but he was behind the play and should have kept up with the players and got ahead of them as the raced towards the corner flag.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:35:51

If there was a problem in the technical areas which the referee felt the need to intervene with, it would have been much better for him to have gone over and sorted it out, not to shout at them from a distance. All that does is hang the 4th Official out to dry as he has nowhere to go.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:31:33


Just 5 free kicks awarded in the opening 20 minutes and so the officials have been able to keep a low profile so far. No sign of anything reckless at the minute and it is just a case of the referee moving things along at the moment.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:29:21

Ismail needs to be careful not to get drawn too far across towards his AR as the play develops just outside of the penalty areas. In the last move he almost got in the way of the players and had to turn around completely putting his back towards his colleague. Taking a more central starting position would alleviate this.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:25:13

I have noticed before about this referee that he utilises an excellent backwards running technique. This is a very valuable asset for a referee and one which not enough officials employ these days.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:22:23


A very steady opening 10 minutes from our officials so far, as the players settle into a rhythm.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:20:36

Referee’s who are tall and naturally look authoritative, like Ismail, often have an advantage when it comes to positive body language. But referee’s on the short side (like myself) have to use different tactics to impose their authority. This can be positive whistle tones or exaggerated arm signals, all these things help the smaller referees to get their mood across.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:16:48

Ismail’s physique lends its self for him to be able to really give a great impression with his sprinting as he did just then when play switched from one end to the other before the careless challenge by Orlando


GB at 2017-04-09 21:14:27


The referee could be seen putting his whistle to his mouth but not blowing it. That is a bad habit to get into as the players see this as indecisive.


GB at 2017-04-09 21:12:55

Good early whistle and smart sharp signal from Ismail for that first free kick – first impressions ticked


GB at 2017-04-09 21:11:40

No referee likes to get hit with the ball like that in the opening minute – but it does happen some times. If it happens more than once a game however, then the referee’s positioning can be questioned.

Kick Off

GB at 2017-04-09 21:09:32

New York Red Bulls won the toss so it will be Orlando City 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  info@you-are-the-ref.com


GB at 2017-04-09 20:59:17


#YATR are excited to announce the launch of our academy this week which is now available to all referees from anywhere in the world. Register 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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  • Applications and invitations to live events, training camps scholarship programmes and Youdan Trophy Pro tournament.
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  • Insight on the laws of the game.

Play of the Week

GB at 2017-04-09 20:58:29

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 Teamwork and co-operation between Referee and Assistants. The co-operation highlighted this week is the importance for communication between the officials when deciding, as a Crew, if a player standing in and off side position is “Interfering with an opponent”. Often known as the jig-saw decision, the procedure and best practice to be employed by the two officials when the AR can see the player is off side, and the Referee can see whether he was in the goalkeeper’s line of vision, comes together and is demonstrated in a couple of video clips – Play of the Week 5 Offside – Interfering with an Opponent dialogue

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  Info@you-are-the-ref.com  and I will include the item in our very own  “The Verdict” section in our new Academy section of our website.


GB at 2017-04-09 20:56:57


Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Ismail Elfath     

AR1: Kermit Quisenberry (Technical Area)

AR2: Peter Balciuas

4th Official: Ted Unkel

Ismail Elfath

The last time I watched this referee was in a very different game than this one. Back in November 2015 I felt that his management of the MLS Cup Playoff, WC Final 2nd Leg between FC Dallas v Portland Timbers was ideal for the intensity of winner takes all encounter. But this is a proverbial “different ball game today”, and I would not expect the referee to be as lenient if the tackles start flying in this early Regular Season game.

Ismail was promoted to the FIFA List at the beginning of 2016 soon after the above game and since then he has been working hard to establish himself at the highest level. With just three international club matches under his belt last year, he will be keen make another good impression on the domestic scene get his name in the frame for some more prestigious appointments. I will be particularly interested to see if a years coaching at FIFA level has changed anything about this referee’s tolerance levels and man-management skills.

Looking at his stats below, Ismail definitely seems to have hit the ground running this season as far as discipline is concerned, as he has already issued 3 red cards this season in just three games.

Establishing your reputation as a strong referee is important in any league, and the referees who are often remembered in the highest esteem, are the ones whom everyone knew where they stood with! This is important to remember at the start of every new season as well, particularly when the group as a whole has been asked to raise their profiles on a number of specific topics.

Here is the list of match play incidents which all MSL Referees have been instructed to clamp down on this season and it will be very interesting to see how each referee upholds these directives:

  • Holding and pushing in the penalty area
  • Acts of visual dissent
  • Delaying restarts
  • Persistent infringement

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

Games Fouls awarded Yellows Reds Ave Yellow Ave Reds
3 86 13 3 4.33 1


Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-04-09 20:51:24

Orlando City

1       Joe Bendik (OC 1)

2       Jonathan Spector (OC 2)

7       Cristian Higuita (OC 7)

8       Will Johnson (OC 8)

9       Cyle Larin (OC 9)

11     Carlos Rivas (OC 11)

21     Scott Sutter (OC 21)

23     Antonio Nocerino (OC 23)

25     Donny Toia (OC 25)

29     Tommy Redding (OC 29)

32     Matías Pérez García (OC 32)


5       Servando Carrasco (OC 5)

12     Kevin Alston (OC 12)

13     Hadji Barry (OC 13)

14     Giles Barnes (OC 14)

17     Luis Gil (OC 17)

28     Josh Saunders (OC 28)

94     Victor “PC” Giro (OC 94)

New York Red Bulls

31     Luis Robles (RB 31)

4       Tyler Adams (RB 4)

7       Derrick Etienne Jr (RB 7)

8       Felipe Martins (RB 8)

15     Sal Zizzo (RB 15)

16     Sacha Kljestan (RB 16)

33     Aaron Long (RB 33)

77     Daniel Royer (RB 77)

78     Aurélien Collin (RB 78)

92     Kemar Lawrence (RB 92)

99     Bradley Wright-Phillips (RB 99)


9       Fredrick Gulbrandsen (RB 9)

18     Ryan Meara (RB 18)

19     Alex Muyl (RB 19)

27     Sean Davis (RB 27)

55     Damien Perrinelle (RB 55)

62     Dane Richards (RB 62)

It is very interesting to note that the Red Bulls have not named their full entitlement of substitutes for this game. Very rare you will see this at senior level. Even a player injured in the warm-up can normally still be replaced with another named substitute under a lot of competition rules.


GB at 2017-04-09 20:45:14


It’s still very early days in the season of course, but today’s Home Team could do themselves a big favour by winning this one of two games in hand over their visitors.

Orlando have only managed to take all three points from the Red Bulls once in the 5 Regular Season fixtures between these teams in the past 2 years, but their much changed line-up will be looking to improve on that today. With a brand new stadium, which is virtually full every home game, Orlando are always keen to show their fan base that they really can start to become a force to be reckoned with in the MLS in just their 3rd full season.

The Red Bulls on the other hand are already licking their wounds following two losses and a tie in their opening 5 games. Last season’s Eastern Conference champions will see this fixture as a chance to get their season back on track, and could even be joint top at the end, but they could be in for a surprise today.

Anyone who rocks up at the new fortress of the Purples this season will know that they will have a tough fight on their hands to come away with even a share of the spoils this season, as the fans here are already getting a reputation for being the equivalent of an extra man on the pitch!

Eastern Conference

Pos Club GP W L T Pts
1 Columbus Crew SC 6 3 2 1 10
2 Atlanta United FC 5 2 1 2 8
3 Chicago Fire 5 2 1 2 8
4 New England Revolution 5 2 2 1 7
5 New York City FC 5 2 2 1 7
6 New York Red Bulls 5 2 2 1 7
7 D.C. United 5 2 2 1 7
8 Toronto FC 5 1 0 4 7
9 Orlando City SC 3 2 1 0 6
10 Montreal Impact 5 0 2 3 3
11 Philadelphia Union 5 0 3 2 2



GB at 2017-04-09 20:42:54


Welcome to this RefCam coverage of the Major League Soccer game between Orlando City v New York Red Bulls. Minute by minute commentary on the referee’s performance coming up here.


Welcome to this RefCam coverage of the Major League Soccer game between Orlando City v New York Red Bulls. Minute by minute commentary on the referee’s performance coming up here.

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