Mark Geiger

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Top American referee Mark Geiger is retiring

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NEW YORK (AP) Mark Geiger, the first American to referee in the knockout stage of the World Cup, is retiring after 15 seasons in Major League Soccer.

The Professional Referee Organization, which oversees on-field officials in the United States and Canada, plans to announce Wednesday that the 44-year-old will become its director of senior match officials. He will report to former Premier League referee Howard Webb, PRO’s general manager.

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Geiger says “at 48, when the next World Cup would happen, I didn’t think I would be at the same point that I am at right now.”

He has been bothered by his left Achilles tendon.

A former math teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, Geiger became the second American to referee at two World Cups, after David Socha in 1982 and 1986. Geiger refereed three matches at each of the last two World Cups, including round of 16 matchups between France and Nigeria in 2014, and between England and Colombia last year. He also refereed the 2014 MLS Cup final.

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Falcao calls it “peculiar” American referee Geiger officiated Colombia vs. England match

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American referee Mark Geiger has received criticism for how he managed the physicality between Colombia and England in their World Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday. Some of that criticism has come from the parties involved.

Geiger handed out six yellow cards to Colombian players – including to Falcao in the 63rd minute – and whistled them for 23 fouls. He awarded England a penalty in the 57th minute that Harry Kane buried for England’s lead. Meanwhile, England players were only shown two yellow cards and called them for 13 fouls.

“The referee disturbed us a lot,” Colombia striker Falcao said after the match. “In the 50-50 plays, he always made the calls in favor of England. He didn’t act with the same criteria for both teams. When in doubt, he always went to the England side.”

The criticism from Falcao is slightly odd given how much Colombia looked to cause havoc with its physical play, hoping to muck up the game with the South American side missing playmaker James Rodriguez due to injury. In fact, it seemed Geiger could have punished them further at times, especially during the four minutes between the penalty decision and Kane’s attempt from the spot when Colombian players surrounded Geiger protesting furiously. Geiger did not caution a single Colombian player during the fracas.

On social media, Geiger was often criticized for losing control of the match as it seemingly devolved into a 90 minute wrestling match.

But that’s not all Falcao had to say about the American referee’s match assignment. “I found it peculiar that they put an American referee in this instance. To tell you the truth, the process leaves a lot of doubts,” he added.

Falcao was not the only one to question FIFA’s decision to appoint an American to referee the match. Outspoken Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, who was spotted wearing a Colombia jersey during the match and celebrated their late goal, said after the match, “Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude… Geiger, an American, what a coincidence.”

Geiger, Marrufo, Villarreal picked as Gold Cup referees

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Mark Geiger, who three years ago became the first American to referee a knockout stage match at the World Cup, is among 17 referees picked for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Americans Jair Marrufo and Armando Villarreal also were announced Thursday for the 12-nation tournament, which runs from July 7-26 in various U.S. cities.

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Geiger, who is from New Jersey, was a referee for France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16.

Three each were picked from Mexico (Roberto Garcia, Fernando Guerrero and Cesar Ramos) and Honduras (Melvin Matamoros, Oscar Moncada and Hector Rodriguez).

Two will come from Costa Rica: Henry Bejarano and Ricardo Montero.

Others picked for the tournament are Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Drew Fischer (Canada), Walter Lopez (Guatemala), Yadel Martinez (Cuba), John Pitti (Panama) and Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts and Nevis).

Sounders tip Timbers 1-0 in sloppy Cascadia Cup affair (video)

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Cristian Roldan scored the lone goal of an arguably unofficiated match between Portland and Seattle on Saturday, as the Sounders picked up a much-needed win that was anything but pretty at Century Link Field in Washington.

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei scooped up his 50th clean sheet as an MLS backstop, and is the 11th player to reach that milestone.

[ MORE: Pulisic, BVB win German Cup ]

Referee Mark Geiger was equally offensive to both sides, denying Portland of a penalty kick via handball and allowing the Timbers’ Vytas Andriuškevičius to thoroughly inspect Jordan Morris’ arms during a second half breakaway.

Roldan turned a corner kick off a Portland defender and home for three points that leave the Sounders, Timbers, and Whitecaps all on three points after two matches played in the 2017 Cascadia Cup.

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): The good news: The Vancouver Whitecaps are no longer point-less on the still-young 2016 MLS season. The great news: their first points and win of the season came at the expense of and keeps their Cascadia rivals, the Seattle Sounders, winless and point-less on the (again, still-young) season. The overriding them of Saturday night’s clash at CenturyLink is unquestionably the refereeing decisions of — are you surprised? — Mark Geiger. Two penalties awarded to the Whitecaps: one wrongly, one rightly. The fact that the phantom call came less than 10 minutes into the game is the real shame, considering how it so obviously changed the game state. Through three games, the Sounders have scored just twice (once from open play), and look a shell of the side that previously boasted the dynamic duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. It’s not time to panic in the Emerald City just yet, but… it’s not exactly far away either.

[ MORE:Previewing the rest of MLS Week 3 ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Bolaños trips in the box, PK given, Morales converts — Christian Bolaños wasn’t touched by Joevin Jones as the Costa Rican tripped himself up inside the penalty area, but referee Geiger awarded the penalty anyway, and Pedro Morales converted.

52′ — Ivanschitz hammers a free kick for 1-1 — Andreas Ivanschitz absolute thumped this free kick, leaving David Ousted with precisely no chance of scrambling all the way across his goal and getting anything behind it.

73′ — Marshall takes down Perez, OK given, Morales converts — Fun fact: you can actually touch the ball in a challenge and still commit a foul if you wipe an opposing player out, whether doing so before or after getting the ball. That’s what Chad Marshall did to Blas Perez, and Geiger rightly (this time) awarded the ‘Caps a penalty.

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Man of the match: Mark Geiger

Goalscorers: Morales (10′ – PK, 74′ – PK), Ivanschitz (52′)