MLS Referee Power Rankings

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Know Thy Judge, we lawyers say. It's also true with refereeing. One of my biggest gripes is that MLS referees are so inconsistent. Inconsistent in quality, inconsistent in application of rules, and even inconsistent in a single match. I thought I'd throw together power rankings just for fun. This is based on my own personal opinion, and sometimes biased as a Crew supporter.

#1 Mark Geiger – World Cup Round of 16. And he’s not been assigned as center ref at MAPFRE (Crew) Stadium since the World Cup. Need I say more?

#2 Alan Kelly – Very credentialed. Refereed at the highest levels in Ireland and UEFA Champions League matches. And bonus points because Orlando City thinks he’s the worst.

#3 Armando Villarreal – Young, fit, and competent. The only major blemish as far as I’m concerned is when he was swayed by the crowd to show red to Ethan Finlay in the 2nd leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in 2014.

#4 Ismail Elfath – Another younger ref. Personally, he’s one of my favorites. He has confidence and I don’t think he ever smiles. He’s like a mini version of The Rock. He had a solid performance at Rio Tinto on June 27, 2015, but he could honestly have shown two more red cards. (Sandoval and Kamara)

#5Kevin Stott – He’s been reffing MLS games since 1996. Crew can relate.

#6 Jair Marrufo – I like the way he controls a match without having to be the center of attention. He may not always be correct, but he’s consistent. And he deserves major props for this chest bump to Magee.

#7 Ted Unkel – For just starting in MLS last year, he’s become a confident referee. Unfortunately, he’s not always right. I have high hopes for him, though.

#8 Marcos C. DeOliveira – I don’t have much data on him, but he called a solid match in Columbus last year, his second in MLS. PRO publicly called him out for a wrong simulation call, but I think he’s got potential.

#9 Dave Gantar – He loves to make those controversial calls that negatively affect Toronto. His calls may not always be correct, but if they harm Toronto, what’s the foul?

#10 Hilario Grajeda – He used to be the best. But ever since the MLS Cup Final 2013, I’m not sure what happened. He should’ve sent off Colin, and he missed at least one, maybe two, handballs in the 2013 NCAA final. He’s been getting fewer assignments it seems, so I’m not sure what to make of him anymore.

#11 Juan Guzman – Mediocre but solid enough. Not much data to go on.

#12 Ricardo Salazar – With a nickname like "Red Cardo Salazar" he’s got to be fun, right? I still remember when he (correctly) called back two PKs in Houston last year. Come on! Why did you have to choose then to be correct?!

#13 Edvin Jurisevic – Nothing against him. He did a nice job at the Sounders/Crew match in May 2015. He also answered media questions much better than Petrescu did.

#14 Baldomero Toledo – Is he retired yet?

#15 Silviu Petrescu – Even though he erred in sending Michael Parkhurst off, my beef with him is that he always seems to be behind the play. Keep up!

#16 Chris Penso – One of my personal least favorites. He has to be the center of attention, even as a Fourth Official. As a referee, you’re supposed to stay in the background.

#17 Drew Fischer – I’m not sure he’s ever read the Laws of the Game. Watching him ref, anything goes. Mainly, he needs to learn what advantage is.

#18 Fotiz Bazakos – He seems like a lost frustrated puppy sometimes. Watch the Revolution/Crew match from June 24, 2015 and Crew/ Fire May 22, 2015 to see poorly officiated matches. You need to know your environment and clamp down early. At least he is consistently terrible.

#19 Sorin Stoica – His name is like an epithet from the mouth of Crew Supporters. When he’s reffing a game between the Crew and Red Bulls, you can count on the Red Bulls getting at least one PK.

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