With the 2016 MLS All-Star game less than a month away, the news surrounding the event has come out in a steady stream. On Wednesday, MLS and hosts San Jose Earthquakes announced that Flo Rida and Belanova will headline the a concert during the days leading up to the match against Arsenal FC of the English Premier League.
Today, PRO, the Professional Referee Organization that assigns referees to American soccer matches, has announced the officiating crew for the All-Star game that will be played on July 28 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.
Chris Penso will be the head referee, with Frank Anderson and Matthew Nelson serving as assistant referees. The fourth official for the match will be Juan Guzman.
Penso, who served as a lead official for an MLS match for the first time in 2011, has been the man in the middle 90 times in his refereeing career. This season, the 34-year-old Penso has been named a referee 10 times. He is known for being a tough disciplinarian, having issued more red cards in 2016 than any other MLS referee.
Penso made his professional debut as a lead referee in July 2008, for a match in USL, the third division on American soccer, between the Puerto Rico Islanders and Miami FC. He worked his first MLS game in 2009, serving as an assistant referee that season a total of 13 times.
The two assistant referees assigned to the All-Star game also bring a strong pedigree to the proceedings. Anderson has worked over 150 games as a lead referee and many more as an assistant, while Nelson has served exclusively as an assistant referee for over 50 games since his first MLS game in 2012.
The 2016 MLS All-Star game assignment is the most prestigious one Penso has received to date. In 2015, he served as the fourth official for both the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup finals. PRO has determined that he has what is takes to keep proceedings running smoothly when the best of MLS line up against EPL giants Arsenal.
2016 MLS All-Star game referee assignments
MLS All-Stars vs. Arsenal FC
July 28, 2016
Avaya Stadium, San Jose
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant referee #1: Frank Anderson
Assistant referee #2: Matthew Nelson
4th official: Juan Guzman
5th official: Chris Strickland