On Tuesday there will be an American in a World Cup semifinal. Just one. Not the eleven we were all hoping for.
Long-time Major League Soccer referee Mark Geiger has been appointed as the fourth official for the huge match between Brazil and Germany in Belo Horizonte.
FIFA have handed Geiger, 39, his fifth assignment of the 2014 World Cup as the former math teacher from New Jersey continues to impress in the center of the pitch. Geiger was the referee for France vs. Nigeria in the round of 16, as he was the first American to officiate a knockout round game, and he also took charge of the Colombia vs. Greece and Spain vs. Chile games in the group stages.
Geiger was criticized by Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi for his decisions during Nigeria’s 2-0 defeat to France in the last 16 match but drew praise in both the group games he refereed. You can’t win ’em all.
For the semifinal clash between Brazil and Germany, which is set to be a rambunctious affair as both teams battle it out to make the final, Mexican official Marco Antonio Rodriguez will be the referee. Rodriguez was the man in the middle when Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, so he has had his share of controversy during the World Cup. Geiger will be on his guard.
Geiger has refereed over 100 matches in MLS and is a member of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). He has long been touted for success on the global stage, as his refereeing performances in MLS have won him plenty of fans in the past few years.
An American ref is going far in the World Cup.