As your faithful travel correspondent, I was ready to write my normal review of Montreal and the Stade Saputo. It was a great away win, especially with 10 men for the Verde, even with our False 9 led performance in the stands, being among the weakest of the campaign. The poutine was good (even if they ran out of the fish on top before we got there), the beer was ok (my 16 oz Chipie Archibald Pale Ale for $9 and change (USD) was fine), and the bathrooms in the north end were actually tiny portables that looked like they belonged at a school under construction instead of inside a stadium.
However, on Saturday morning before the match, we found out about a shocking substitute in that Guido Gonzales Jr replaced Ted Unkel as the lead official for the match. In Montreal, our supporters were stunned to learn of this stunning change in events. While it may not have mattered much in the final result (considering we overcame Dani’s double yellow along with yellows to Gallagher and Cascante while CF Montreal didn’t receive any cards), we have heard nothing on why Ted Unkel didn’t make the match. Therefore, I decided to come up with 9 theories (ranked in the order I thought of them of why Ted Unkel didn’t officiate this match):
- Our friends, the eagles, decided that capturing Rodney Redes was not enough. As you can see below, they decided to head to Sarasota, Florida and found Ted before he could get on his flight north to Montreal.
- Speaking of flights, flying in and out of Montreal this past week was simply a disaster. Never every member of our travelling delegation (yours truly included) had delays, unplanned extra flights, and all sorts of summer travel chaos. We have to imagine that Ted’s flights got cancelled coming up to Montreal on the Grand Prix weekend, and the MLS was unwilling to charter a private flight just for Ted.
- Speaking of the Grand Prix, we heard that F1 leadership was incredibly impressed by Ted’s decisive, no-nonsense (and occasionally inaccurate) calls on the pitch. He would surely be better than Michael Masi and his dubious decisions in Abu Dhabi last season. Under this theory, Ted did actually make it to Montreal, but ended up spending all weekend on the island of Notre Dame helping judge the Formula One race. We may have finally found a sport where Ted Unkel may be an upgrade over the current officials.
- Speaking of the island of Notre Dame, the famous casino of Montreal sits in the infield of the race course. Since Ted has helped mentor and train so many of the league’s officials, he knew he could win some money over the weekend by predicting their cards in advance at the casino’s sports book. In a country where TSN proudly lists the MLS over/unders and lines on their ticker, Ted made more than enough money to fulfill his refund to the league.
- Speaking of the league, they still have a Health and Safety Protocol for players related to this pinche COVID that keeps going around the world. Unlike the players and coaches side, there is no disclosure whether or not officials have entered their own Health and Safety Protocol. While we hope that Ted doesn’t have COVID, it is entirely possible that the pandemic caught up to this monolingual official.
- Speaking of monolingual, Quebec is an famously bilingual province that even sings the first seven lines of O Canada in French (“ton historie est une epopee des plus brillants exploits” is one of the best lines in any national anthem) and finishes it in English. Ted failed his mandatory French test on Friday before the match, and the league cancelled his plane ticket on the spot in replacing him with the trilingual Guido Gonzales.
- Speaking of replacements, our fanbase had openly wondered for months that Dani Periera wouldn’t be allowed into Canada for this match due to his asylum status. While that situation is not entirely resolved, part of the one time waiver was that Ted Unkel was forced to stay back in the states. Canada has a limit on how many people that don’t play for CF Montreal can be at the center of a match, and they were not going to permit Dani and Ted to both be in the country at the same time.
- Speaking of being places at the same time, Ted simply didn’t want to miss Fathers Day with his family. The only tweet he has sent out since the match was about Fathers Day, and it’s clear that this day means a lot to him, especially after his own father passed away.
- Finally, Ted is occasionally known for not always writing down every last step to justify a decision. As a result, we can imagine he isn’t very good at detailed paperwork. Part of arriving into Canada, is that you need to remember to bring your passport, your official COVID vaccine card, and complete the ArriveCAN app. Ted forgot to do at least one of these steps, and got rejected from entering Canada. It was a harsh but fair decision.
Please let us know in the comments below or on social media what theory you think is correct. We probably won’t do the full reporting to find out the real answer but we’ll let the Striker chase this rabbit hole. Maybe they’ll find the answer before the US finds a World Cup striker.