If you have been a Seattle Sounders fan for any leght of time, the name Ricardo Salazar will have you seeing red, literally.
He is the most hated referee in MLS , even more so in Seattle. He has been part of some of the most infamously bad calls when charged with officiating Sounders games.
Last year, he was involved in three different red cards issued to Seattle players (2 he gave out personally, and 1 an encouraged red card from the sideline.) Both red cards were eventually rescinded by the MLS Disciplinary comittee, and the first of the year, Obafemi Martins, phantom red card was one of the worst red cards given out in 2013 throughtought all of MLS.
After he issued a red card in June of 2013, Salazar has not been scheduled to work a Seattle Sounders match, home or away, since.
His most infamous act as part of this ongoing feud with with the Sounders goes back to 2012, when Salazar was photographed drinking beer with Portland Timber fans, just after the conclusion of a heated match between the Timbers and Sounders in a Cascadia Cup contest.
How he was assigned the most important match of the MLS season to this point is beyond understanding. Not only does he have a checkered past with one of the teams, which goes back years, he is being asked to control a match which will already be feisty.
He is coming into a city which actively seeks to have him ousted as a referee in MLS. Last year after issuing a red card to the Sounders in a game, fans started a petition on Change.org to protest MLS in some way. The petition has since been closed with over 1,900 signatures.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times posted a detailed article with all the on-the field happenings between Salazar and the Sounders team, dating back to the USL days.
In the article Mayers references a tweet from Seattle Sounder player Zach Scott (Since been deleted) which plainly stated Salazar hated the Sounders.
With the history of this particular referee and lack of assignment to any games over the past year, the only answer for why he was now assigned would be Seattle’s recent Mass Confrontation Violation.