The Colombia vs England game was a hard, physical contest, with many controversial moments and a ton of yellow cards. But there is something everybody agreed on, no matter whether they were English, Colombian or neutral: American referee Mark Geiger was awful.
This wasn’t news for MLS fans, who already knew (and warned us) about Geiger’s uneven performances. Now they are enjoying a rare “I told you so” moment, mixed with a little bit of embarrassment, after seeing the reactions of both Colombians and English to the referee’s calls.
Geiger, a former math teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, has officiated 85 MLS matches and was names MLS Referee of the Year in 2011 and 2014, but he is probably more known for the semifinal of the 2016 Gold Cup between Mexico and Panama, where he sent off a Canalero and awarded two decisive penalties to Mexico in the last minutes of the game. The calls were so obvious that CONCACAF had to issue a statement where Geiger admitted that he got it wrong. The Panamanians were so outraged they threatened to boycott the third-place game of the tournament and a leading newspaper’s headline the next day read “Fucking Árbitro.”
Sure, Geiger has had stellar nights, but this wasn’t one of them, and since FIFA reviews each referee’s performance through the tournament before deciding who will impart justice in the finals, it is probable that the US will be left without its last representative in the World Cup, much to the relief of many MLS fans.