Before I get too far into this, I want to make one thing very clear. This is not an article meant to disrespect the officiating crew that was selected for Sporting Kansas City-Real Salt Lake in the 2013 MLS Cup Final this Saturday from Sporting Park.
Hilario Grajeda is also a solid referee, was in the center for the MLS All Star game vs. Roma, and was recently named the MLS Official of the Year, something that he deserved throughout the 2013 MLS season. Ismail Elfath was the runner up for that award (Baldomero Toledo was third), and I like Elfath as well, despite my opinion of his performance in the second leg of the Revs playoff series vs. SKC. Elfath is 31 years old, and has a pretty impressive resume for a referee who made his pro debut in 2009 in the NASL. ...
See the whole story here, courtesy of SB Nation.
Kicking Back Comments: First let me say that the crew on Saturday did a great job. So as Jake had stated, the question is not a reflection on them.
There are a couple of points I think he misses on why not Geiger?
I think he touches on the over-exposure point slightly, but not well enough. Over exposure is killer, and can lead to just too much familiarity between teams and a referee. This can reach a fever pitch by the time something as critical as a MLS Cup rolls around.
Second, as was stated, Mark and crew are at the Club World Cup. Lets face it folks this one cuts both ways in the same direction. As a referee on the World Cup "short list" there are matches you have to do, and matches you have to avoid.
There is little doubt in my head that other World Cup prospects were invited by Brian Hall for this tournament, and their absence would mean a death knell to any thought of actually going to a World Cup. Also, lets say that the games did not meet on the calendar and Mark was available ... would it have been a good idea for him to referee the MLS Cup final? I would hope that some folks put some thought into that as a mistake on that match ... which, I'm sorry folks ... does not hold a candle to international play, or even many higher level leagues IMHO ... could kill an opportunity to go to a World Cup as well.
Listen, I'm a fan of Mark just like the author, but, I also recognize that missing a well placed match is not such a bad thing, and in fact may be totally intentional, calendar aside.