Kathryn Nesbitt, the 2020 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, will become the first female official to work a Concacaf World Cup qualifier on Thursday when she’s on the touchline for Canada's home game against Bermuda in Orlando.
Nesbitt will also be an assistant referee for Saturday's Anguilla-Dominican Republic match at Inter Miami CF Stadium.
“Katy fits the profile of an international match official,” said Rick Eddy, U.S. Soccer’s director of referee development. “She has performed at a high level in the domestic and international arenas and her accomplishments on the pitch speak for themselves."
Three other American will be part of officiating crews for Concacaf qualifiers being played this weekend at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jennifer Garner will be an assistant referee and Tori Penso the fourth official for Saturday's Aruba-Suriname game. Brooke Mayo will be an assistant referee and Penso will be the fourth official the next day for the Cayman Islands-Canada game.
Matchday 1: Wednesday, March 24: Group A Antigua & Barbuda 2 Montserrat 2. (Goals: Kirwan 22, Bishop 45; L.Taylor pen. 7, 26.) Group B Suriname 3 Cayman Islands 0. (Goal: Pinas 22, Donk pen. 38, Vlijter 76.) Group CGuatemala 1 Cuba 0. (Goal: L.Martinez 60.) Group D Dominican Republic 1 Dominica 0. (Goal: F.Nunez 52.) Group E Nicaragua vs. St. Lucia, cancelled Group F St. Kitts & Nevis 1 Puerto Rico 0. (Goal: Nelson 42.)
Emerald upstarts. The only away team to take a point on the opening day of Concacaf qualifying was Montserrat, the tiny island (population: 6,000) once ranked last in FIFA's world rankings. The Emerald Boys held Antigua & Barbuda to a 2-2 tie in Curacao thanks to two goals by captain Lyle Taylor, who plays for England's second-tier Nottingham Forest.
Former Scottish star William Donachie, who played in the NASL for the Portland Timbers, has done wonders since arriving taking over Montserrat, which finished second in its second-tier League B group in the 2019 Concacaf Nations League.
Besides Taylor, his starting lineup consisted of one player from England's fourth-tier League Two, eight from English non-league soccer and one from the Cypriot third division.
Montserrat XI: Goalkeeper: Corrin Brooks-Meade (Oroklini/Troulloi, Cyprus D3) Defenders: Michael Williams (Stafford Rangers, England D6) Joey Taylor (Sevenoaks Town, England D7) Craig Braham-Barrett (Dartford, England D6) Jamie Allen (Halifax Town, England D5) Midfielders: Alex Dyer (Wealdstone, England D5) James Comley (Maidenhead United, England D5) Brandon Comley (Bolton Wanderers, England D4) Rohan Ince (Maidenhead United, England D5) Forwards: Lyle Taylor (Nottingham Forest, England D2) Spencer Weir-Daley (Peterborough Sports, England D7)
Haitian holdup. The Belize national team got quite a surprise upon its arrival in Port-Au-Prince for Thursday's qualifier against Mexico. Despite a police escort, the bus taking the Jaguars from the airport to their hotel was held up by armed motorcyclists.
The Haitian police accompanying the bus had to negotiate with what the Belize soccer federation described as "insurgents" to end what it termed a "terrible experience."