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Mexican referee Rodriguez appointed for USMNT match vs. Costa Rica

Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez

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When the U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off against Costa Rica next month, the man in the middle will be one with no shortage of experience or controversy.

The Costa Rican Football Federation announced that Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez has been appointed the referee for the U.S.-Costa Rica match on September 6 in San Jose, four days before the Americans host Mexico at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Rodriguez, who has a reputation for being very quick to call fouls and book players, has been a FIFA-approved referee since 2000 and refereed matches in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He has officiated a number of U.S. matches in the past, including defeats to Jamaica in September 2012 and Panama in June 2011.

The 39-year-old referee also was the center of controversy in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when he gave Australia’s Tim Cahill a red card in the 55th minute for a late challenge on Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Rodriguez worked at the Gold Cup this past summer, refereeing two matches and issuing four bookings total, including a red card on Honduras’ David Velasquez in the 37th minute of a defeat to Trinidad and Tobago.

Rodriguez has also been selected to work a number of finals. He reffed the CONCACAF Champions League final this past spring and the 2011 Mexican Apertura final, a final that saw ten players booked and three shown straight reds.

Between August 2012 and August 2013, Rodriguez showed a card 157 times in 33 games in all competitions, an average of nearly five cards per game.

Players on both sides will have to be careful during the match, as a number of players are in danger of an automatic one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation. The USMNT is carrying ten players on a yellow card: Jermaine Jones, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson.

The Costa Rican squad has nine players with one yellow card in qualifying: Celso Borges, Christian Bolaños, Roy Miller, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Umaña, Keilor Navas, Cristian Gamboa, Ariel Rodriguez, and Bryan Ruiz.


What do you think of this news? Are you worried at all with this appointment? Do you see the emotions surrounding the match manifesting themselves on the field?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ironically there may be something to play for after the 16th point in the Hex. Given this run the MNT is on, they are actually climbing the FIFA rankings dramatically — the Bosnia win was pretty huge. Realize its a very remote chance, but getting into the top 7 (or 8 depending what Brazil does) would put them in a seeded position for the draw — avoid Spain, Italy, Brazil etc. in pool play.

    A VERY outside chance. Lots of things would need to fall into place, but they’ve given themselves a shot…

    • +1, like you said it’s a very very remote possibility.. but man it’s fun to be in a position to think about that kinda stuff. Great time to be a USMNT fan

      • In my view, it’s not quite as remote as you might think. For starters, seedings are NOT necessarily determined strictly by FIFA rankings (i.e. the top-7 + Brazil). In the past, FIFA has more or less adopted whatever system suits their needs at the time with little consistency.

        It would not surprise me if FIFA tries to hold one top seed for a country outside of the traditional UEFA/CONMEBOL duopoly. If we were having this conversation 12 months ago, I would say Mexico would be making a very serious case here. Now that their ship is on the rocks, this will not happen. But the USA continues its spectacular run-in right up to the draw, who knows… maybe we could just slip in. I wouldn’t bet money on it, but there is definitely an angle.

        Here is an article that describes the stated logic (or lack thereof, more accurately) to the seeding system for 2014. The conclusion seems to be that we don’t really know yet.

    • Doesn’t seeding also take into account the performance of teams in the last WC? I don’t want to get my hopes up but that would be incredible to recieve a seeding for brazil.

  2. Why is the Costa Rica Football Federation announcing this? I thought CONCACAF made these announcements.

    Who is officiating the Mexico-Honduras match?

  3. It’s fine if he wants to call a close game as long as he calls it both ways…but we are all assuming that he will call it close for the usmnt and let the ticos hack and maul the US players with nary a card to be given.

  4. With this ref, best not to take Jermaine Jones to Central America; he’s a red card waiting to happen and then he would miss out against the game against Mexico as well.

    • Agree. Silly rule, especially in this context. You can get a yellow card in game #1, stay clean for six games, then get a yellow in game #8, and you have to sit out game #9. You’re treated the same as a guy who gets two yellows in the same game. Just silly.

      • Well not quite. Two yellow in the same game becomes a red… In he the above scenario, no red.

        There is also the “mass forgiveness” scenarios that seem completely arbitrary.

        All for accumulation, but the yellows should “expire” after 3-5 games.

      • Yep, both scenarios would mean you miss the next game. Two yellows in one game would add the remainder of the existing game. Never clear on the exclusion rules regarding a straight red — think you can be suspended more than one game depending on a review from the sponsoring confederation….

  5. Who establishes the rules for card accumulation suspensions during qualifying? FIFA or CONCACAF? Are other confederations dealing with the same ridiculous situation of having so many players one bad call away from being suspended from their team’s next game so deep into qualifying?

  6. The USMNT is carrying ten players on a yellow card: Jermaine Jones, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson.
    Of these 10 the only ones I’m concerned about are: Bradley, Jozy, & Besler.
    Brad Davis is of no concern as I don’t see him being there.
    Howard has an excellent backup in Guzan so not worried there.
    As long as Jones & Cameron don’t both get 2nd yellows in CR, I’m not worried.
    Johannsson is talented, and could spell Dempsey and possibly Jozy (wouldn’t be happy)
    With the return of Donovan…he can slot in for either Dempsey or FJ. (Wouldn’t be happy)

    • I expect yellows for Bradley Jozy and Besler from Rodriguez. He’s a good ref but it stinks when he calls US club or national team games. Dude is card happy and quite macho out there

    • going out on a limb and saying that any player mentioned is also superior to anyone commenting on a players ability on the site, so why even have a comment section?

  7. One bright spot! I think that Rodriques may be strict, but I also thinks he’s fair. usually the Linesman are the same nationality as the Ref, and Mexican linesman are pretty goo. Much better than MLS linesmen.

    • The Dynamo didn’t show much to deserve anything more than a point, but…

      Rodriguez continually disrupted what little flow there was with petty fouls. He killed at least 2 Dynamo breakways by calling late fouls on W Connection when he should have played the advantage.

      He consistently called fouls several seconds late.

      He only added 3 minutes of stoppage time to the end of the match when W Connection injuries and subs for both teams took upwards of 5 minutes off the clock, let alone time for normal run of play stoppages.

      On the bright side, he only gave out 2 YCs, one to each team. Most refs would have probably let both fouls slide.

  8. One of the few things I still can’t stand about soccer. The ref’s greatly affect the game and can be so blatent with some of their calls. At least with other sport’s they try to appear impartial. It is getting better though!

  9. Most important stat going into CR: 10 US players sit on a yellow card and they are almost all starters.

    Should be interesting.

  10. El chiquidracula! He’s actually been fair for us in the past. Like Anthony said, infinitely better than a Central American ref.

      • Yeah, but part of that is international games, at least those that count, tend to be more chippy with less flow than league games.

      • if the US beats Costa Rica I don’t really think it matters, the 3rd/4th place would be practically secured

      • True, but let’s be real- we US fans really want to beat Mexico. If we officially qualify for Brazil in San Jose, but then lose to Mexico at home with a depleted squad through yellow cards, I’ll be disappointed.

      • Can we register the Gold Cup squad (+ Mr.Jones, who seems to be a bit out of form of late) for the first game, and then register all the WC starters w/ yellow-card risk for the game against Mexico?

      • Agreed, for personal reasons i would take a draw or even loss in San Jose in exchange for a win in Ohio

        I think our team can avoids cards, bench Jones!, hopefully nothing unexpected happens!

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