CCL Crash Course: Referee assignments released for quarterfinals

USMNT Jamaica Referee Elmer Bonilla

After winning their respective groups with unbeaten records, Sporting KC and Cruz Azul will collide in the quarterfinals of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League in March. Ahead of the home-and-away match-up, will be providing regular updates on La Máquina as part of the site's CCL Crash Course series. Want to know more about the tournament? Check out our 2013-14 CCL Guide.

The CONCACAF Referees' Committee has appointed the following referees and assistant referees for Sporting Kansas City's home and away matches against Cruz Azul (MEX) in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals next month:

Leg 1 - March 12 at Sporting Park (7 p.m. CT)
Referee: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Bermúdez (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Héctor Recinos (SLV)
4th Official: Marlon Mejía (SLV)

Leg 2 - March 19 at Estadio Azul (9 p.m. CT)
Referee: Walter López (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronaldo De La Cruz (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Carlos Guerra (GUA)
4th Official: Marlon Mejía (SLV)

Both match officials have been FIFA International referees since 2006 and both have worked international matches at Sporting Park in the past three years. In accordance with CONCACAF Champions League regulations, "The referee, assistant referees and fourth official chosen for each game shall be from a country whose club is not included in the game in question" and "the match officials shall be selected from the current FIFA International lists."


Bonilla (pictured above) was the man in the middle for the FIFA World Cup qualifier between the United States and Jamaica in October. His résumé also includes the 2012 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

In CONCACAF Champions League competition, the 35-year-old Bonilla officiated two games during the 2013-14 group stage (Liga Deportiva Alajuelense vs. Club América in August; Club Tijuana vs. Club Deportivo Victoria in September). This marks the second straight year Bonilla has been selected for the quarterfinal round after being assigned the Seattle Sounders FC home match against Tigres UANL (MEX) last March.

Bonilla is part of a crew that also includes a pair of assistant referees who have held FIFA International status since 2007. Together, the trio are three of El Salvador's 10 FIFA International referees and all worked together for Real Salt Lake's 2012-13 CCL group stage match against C.S. Herediano (CRC) in October 2012.


López, 33, has twice featured in national team matches held at Sporting Park, including the first ever international match held in the venue between Panama and Canada during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage. Most recently, he officiated the 2012 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament final between Mexico and Honduras in April 2012.

Considered one of the top referees in the region, López is one of eight "support duos" appointed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He officiated at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and was in charge of the most anticipated FIFA World Cup qualifying match in CONCACAF when he had the whistle for USA-Mexico at Estadio Azteca last March.

In CONCACAF Champions League competition, López's lone fixture in the 2013-14 group stage came in October and involved Cruz Azul. The Liga MX side played away at C.S. Herediano (CRC) and booked their berth in the quarterfinal round with a 2-1 victory.

This marks the fifth straight year López has been selected to referee the CCL quarterfinal round. The streak began in the 2009-10 edition of the tournament with Cruz Azul's away leg at Club Deportivo Árabe Unido (PAN) en route to La Máquina reaching the CCL final.

2010: Árabe Unido (PAN) 0, Cruz Azul (MEX) 1
2011: Saprissa (CRC) 1, Olimpia (HON) 0
2012: Isidro Metapán (SLV) 2, UNAM (MEX) 1
2013: LA Galaxy (USA) 4, Herediano (CRC) 1

López is joined on the crew by Ronaldo De La Cruz (FIFA International since 2008 and shown above during USA-Jamaica FIFA World Cup qualifier at Sporting Park in October) and Juan Carlos Guerra (FIFA International since 2007). Together, the three referees are amongst the 12 FIFA International referees from Guatemala.