On Sunday night, we learned who will play in MLS Cup. On Monday morning, we learned who will referee the league's marquee match.
The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) announced that Hilario Grajeda will referee Dec. 7's final between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park, with Ismail Elfath as the fourth official and Paul Scott and Bill Bittmar patrolling the sidelines.
Grajeda refereed 23 MLS matches during the 2013, tops among MLS referees, and handed out 63 yellow cards (2.7 per match) and four red cards, most notably ejecting Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso following an incident with Portland's Will Johnson on Oct. 13. He also presided over the Portland Timbers 3-2 second leg win against the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The 46-year-old was the referee for Real Salt Lake's scoreless draw in Seattle during the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs and for three games during the 2013 season (3/03 at SJ, 8/17 at LA, 10/05 vs. DAL). He also took charge of Sporting KC's 3-2 defeat to the Timbers on April 27.
Grajeda served as the fourth official for the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cups and was the head referee during the MLS All-Star Game in July, also played at Sporting Park. He made his debut in MLS in 2004.