Daniel Radford is a name most Seattle Sounders fans should probably recognize. He was, after all, the man in the middle during one of the most infamous in club history, the Red Card Wedding.
Since that night in 2015, in which Radford issued three red cards and watched his notebook literally be torn apart by Clint Dempsey, he’s mostly worked USL and NASL games, with the occasional foray into MLS as a fourth official. Earlier this year, he returned to the Seattle area to be the head referee of S2’s match against Fresno.
But sensibly, the Red Card Wedding was the last time he was involved in a Sounders First Team match. That will change on Sunday.
Whether or not they knew what they were doing when the assignments were made, it seems a curious choice to give Radford the fourth official assignment for not just any Sounders match, but one featuring the Timbers as well.
Even taking his personal ties to the rivalry out of the equation, Radford doesn’t seem particularly well qualified to work such a high-intensity match. He’s only been given two center ref assignments in the USL this year — in which he’s given out a total of nine yellow cards — and he only has 15 center referee assignments since 2015. Chances are that he won’t be pressed into a more high-profile role in this game, but the risk doesn’t seem particularly well balanced. Let’s hope we never find out.