Home > Referees > Courtney Campbell Gets the U.S. – Honduras Semi-final

Courtney Campbell Gets the U.S. – Honduras Semi-final

CONCACAF has announced that Courtney Campbell will be the referee for tonight’s U.S. – Honduras semi-final match.  This is a little strange because Campbell also officiated the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over Honduras in the group stage.

The Group Stage Match

In the group stage, Campbell awarded both squads two yellow cards (four total).  He called 15 fouls against the U.S. but only 8 against Honduras.  Honduras was called offside 8 times and the U.S. once.

The Quarter-Final Match

One substory in tonight’s match will be the relationship between Campbell and his linesmen.  During the quarter-final match between Mexico and Haiti, Campbell and one of his linesmen (it isn’t clear which, but both return for the semi-final crew) “debated” whether Frantz Bertin committed a foul (handball) in the penalty area.  (Video replay appears to confirm that Campbell made the correct call.)  Campbell ultimately awarded Mexico the penalty kick, which was deflected and Mexico scored the game-winning goal immediately on the rebound.

Frankly, it is good to see a referee talking with the linesman about an important call like that.

Campbell’s Officiating Tendencies

Unfortunately, our traditional source of referee statistics, worldreferee.com, has been tampered with.  It falsely claims that in the Mexico-Haiti quarter final, Campbell awarded Mexico 4 penalty kicks — he only awarded one.  Correcting this mistake, his statistics are as follows: in 32 matches, Campbell has awarded 3 penalty kicks, 9 red cards, and 123 yellows.

Either Campbell allows matches to quickly get out of control or he has an unnatural affinity for discipline.  Campbell has given at least 5 yellow cards in 11 of his 32 matches.  He has awarded 7 in 3 different matches and 8 in one match (Cuba-Guatemala on October 15, 2008).

In both of Campbell’s two Gold Cup 2009 matches, one team was called for substantially more fouls than its opponent.  In the U.S. – Honduras match, the U.S. got called for 15 fouls and Honduras for only 8.  In the Mexico – Haiti match, Mexico got called for only 5 fouls and Haiti for 13.

Teams’ performances in Campbell-refereed matches:

The U.S. is 2-0 in matches officiated by Campbell:  a 3-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago on September 10, 2008 and the group-stage victory over Honduras.  The U.S. has received 3 yellow cards from Campbell and their opponents have received 5.

Honduras is 1-1 in matches officiated by Campbell.  Honduras has received 3 yellow cards from Campbell and their opponents have received 6 yellow and 1 red cards.

Prediction of Performance

Expect one side to get approximately twice as many fouls as the other, but for both teams to be roughly equal in cards.  If he once again chooses to call fouls against the U.S. twice as often as he does on Honduras, tonight’s match could be a frustrating one for U.S. fans.  But I think that U.S. fans should once again not have to worry about outcome-determinative decisions being made lightly.  While Cooper might need to suffer another kick to the stomach/jewels to earn a penalty kick, we should feel comfortable that Campbell will have a similar standard for awarding a penalty kick to Honduras.

All in all, I expect Honduras will have more opportunities than the U.S. for free kicks and to get away with some fouls the U.S. does not.  But the end result will probably be determined by the teams and not the ref.   And that’s all we can ask.

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  1. Mark Warhola
    July 24, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Campbell is a light weight. He would never make it in any of the top leagues around the world. He foul reconition is rubbish and his positioning is substandard

    • Michael
      July 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm

      Mark, your comment has a certain foreboding quality to it, even in hindsight. I don’t know much about the techniques of officiating — my experience as an official is limited to a season of youth league matches — but I won’t quibble with the conclusion. I find it a little disconcerting that CONCACAF believed Campbell to be the best non-US/Mexican official available for the final.

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