Collin shines brightly en route to claiming MLS Cup MVP award

AurelienCollinMLSCupFinalSportingKC1 (AP)

By FRANCO PANIZO

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Aurelien Collin had never taken a penalty kick in a game in his career prior to Saturday night, but you would not have been able to tell based on how well he took it.

Collin helped Sporting Kansas City lift the 2013 MLS Cup trophy on an ice-cold Saturday night at Sporting Park by converting a spot kick in the 10th round of their 7-6 penalty shootout win vs. Real Salt Lake after the two sides play to a 1-1 draw. Collin’s perfectly-placed curler that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando could not reach despite correctly guessing where it would go will likely be the biggest talking point from the match in the ensuing days, but it was just one of many impressive ones for him en route to claiming the MLS Cup MVP award.

The 27-year-old Collin’s performance also included several timely interventions, his typical physicality and aerial dominance, and a goal in regulation that erased Real Salt Lake’s lead and forced extra time and penalty kicks. It was a pretty complete performance from someone who has been more than appreciative of what Sporting KC have done for him since signing him at the beginning of the 2011 season.

“Why I came in the first place, the coach came to me first, he almost died,” said Collin, referencing an airport in Portugal that had a reputation for difficult landings and that Sporting manager Peter Vermes had to travel to in order to scout the Frenchman. “They showed me something that I never had in Europe and I was working as much as I wanted and being in the best facilities ever, which is the stadium and the training facilities. For the first time in my life, I was in the best infrastructure, facilities and I managed to become the best player I can (be).

“I know that today I’m better than three years ago and I know that if I stay here I’ll be better in three years than today. I wasn’t expecting all of this, but I feel very blessed to be a part of it.”

Sporting KC seems to feel equally as blessed to have Collin on their team. One of the best center backs in MLS, Collin shined throughout the playoffs and came up with timely goals like the one he netted in the 76th minute.

With Kansas City trailing after Alvaro Saborio scored early in the second half, Collin came to the rescue with a near-perfect header off a corner kick from Graham Zusi. The goal gave Sporting a dose of energy after RSL had come close to making it 2-0 on a couple of occasions and sent most of the crowd of 21,650 at Sporting Park into a frenzy.

“This playoffs he’s been extremely good for us,” said midfielder Graham Zusi. “You can tell he’s been locked in since the beginning and I really can’t say enough about his performances throughout the playoffs, not just this one game. He’s a guy who has scored key goals for us, absolutely massive goals for us, and defensively he did what he always does. He’s just a tough guy to play against and I can’t sing his praises enough for what he’s done for us these playoffs.”

“He’s been big for us all year long,” added centerback partner Matt Besler. “I think just in the postseason everything gets magnified with the media and the press and the goal that he scored in New England (in the Eastern Conference semifinals) was a very big goal and it got a lot of press, but honestly he’s been doing it all year long.”

For Collin, the match was likely as memorable as any as he has had in his career. Not just because he scored a goal and converted his first career penalty kick, but because he helped his club win a championship.

“I feel very happy,” said Collin. “I just want to be in the locker room celebrating with my teammates.”

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36 Responses to Collin shines brightly en route to claiming MLS Cup MVP award

  1. Ralph Nader says:

    Should have been red carded before the first half ended. Period.

    • DanO says:

      That, and his poor clearance directly led to the rsl goal. This award is embarrassing.

    • georkt says:

      Thank you, worst headline in MLS history.

    • Bates says:

      I feel bad for you. Collin is class, he is great for MLS

      • John Maddens Chin says:

        You feel bad for Nader because Collins should have been red carded? Your comment makes no sense. It’s like you’re trying to deflect for the fact that Collins should have been showing before the half mark.

        It’s pretty childish actually.

      • Hogatroge says:

        I like Collin, which is a hard thing to do given I’m a Dynamo guy. I only saw the 2nd half, so I can’t comment on any deserved RCs.

        That said, Collin is lucky to have made it to the Cup Final without sitting a game for YC accumulation.

        • Falsify says:

          He didn’t deserve a red card these are just bitter RSL fans with nothing better to talk about.

          • John Maddens Chin says:

            I find this level of delusion fascinating. You should be studied by a sports psychologist.

            You are presented with two premises:

            A – Collin committed tackles that were outside the confines of the game and should have been punished accordingly. Thus, a large number of fans commented on it.

            B – Collin did not do anything wrong and a large number of RSL fans joined together in private to falsify a narrative and then went around the internet sharing it in unison while drawing other fans into the ruse just because they were bitter–and every single comment is by someone that supports RSL and is also bitter.

            You chose B. Think about that.

  2. John Maddens Chin says:

    This about sums up that game. The MVP is a player that committed three surefire yellow card offenses–and should easily have seen red for two yellows in the first half. That studs-high from behind slide into Findley a few minutes in was borderline a red in itself–and he escaped with not even a foul.

    • Respect Meh says:

      Twellman was so bewildered when they saw the replay of that. Its funny when he gets sound up and realizes he can’t just rail like he would at a bar.

    • HoBo says:

      +1….. easily could have been gone after all of his reckless tackles. I thought the ref was soft on KC all game

    • RB says:

      Have to agree that this award unfortunately sums it up, especially when you consider the context of the same player far and away winning the title in yellow cards this season, playing on the team that far and away won the fouling title and has now been crowned winners of the league. The message seems obvious.

      And I am a neutral and anything but an RSL fan, ftr.

  3. Nihal says:

    Unrelated, but this a report: “Very unconfirmed but getting word preliminary TV audience in Indonesia for D.C. United friendly Fri was 39 million viewers. #dcu #mls.” Wow.

  4. Respect Meh says:

    Assuming that tackle on Findley could have been a red card for reckless from behind, there were three different incidents that could have resulted in a sending off and two that absolutely without doubt should have been a sending off.

    If Twellman is good for anything, its that he speaks his mind and doesn’t toe the company line. He was spot on with how incredibly lucky Collin was to even last the first half.

    • georkt says:

      Your first paragraph is spot on however I think Twellman should have been sent off the day before the match for being a high quality wanker.

  5. Jesus Kreis says:

    Fifa/Blatter must of had something to do with it. You know how they love the french. ;)

    Congrats to SKC and Collin.

  6. Bates says:

    Collin played a beautiful game, congrats to him

  7. Herman says:

    MVP is almost always someone that scores a goal. For my money, Zusi was clearly the MVP for Kansas as well as easily outplaying his NAT teammate, Beckerman. BTW, Beckerman once again showed he is very average. Had one good pass but so did Benny.

    Zusi was MVP

    • Hogatroge says:

      Beckerman was class for most of the game, but Zusi definitely turned it on late. As fickle as the MVP ratings are, Zusi would have been MVP if he had converted his PK.

      If Beckerman had sealed the game with his shot, though, there’s NO question he would have ended up with the award.

      • aletheist says:

        My understanding is that the MVP votes had to be submitted before the shootout even began. I assume that each voter chose one player from each team, since the outcome had not yet been determined.

    • Neruda says:

      Beckerman is one of the very best Americans at his position right now according to klinsmann. Are u one of the very best Americans in your profession? C’mon use your head.

  8. Rick says:

    collin should have been off, but borchers had a pretty mean off the ball check into dwyer early in the second half

    • Chris says:

      And Dwyer did a bike right into Borchers’ face that was worthy of at minimum a hard yellow, maybe even a red, for endangering the safety of an opponent. Dwyer deserves no sympathy.

  9. Brain Guy says:

    Yep, that about sums it up — the most-carded player in the league, on the fouling-est team in the league, wins the MVP after committing three cardable offenses. Even as a fan of RBNY, I was rooting hard for RSL. Those two shots off woodwork by Beckerman and Morales were omens of bad things to come.

  10. E. Jack Hewlett says:

    I love that Collin is in the heads of so many of SKC’s opponents and their fans. He’s a player that any team in the league would love to have.

    • RB says:

      You think that because…

      (Having trouble coming up with any non-sarcastic sort of answer.)

    • Neruda says:

      As an RSL fan I actually like Collin as a player and competitor. His MVP award is as much a team award as anything. He had the goal and penalty score but he also was burned a number of times for which he made desperation hackles and was punished for only one with the yellow card. I don’t think he was in anyone’s head on RSL other than he was a concern on corners.

    • Bates says:

      Agreed, if any fans say they wouldn’t want him then they are lying to themselves

      • RB says:

        I like how some folks with an inaccurate notion in their heads don’t reconsider but rather double down on it, when presented with reactions to the contrary.

  11. Chris says:

    Ives: Given that Grajeda gave Collin that first yellow, and that the second-half foul on Robbie Findley was practically identical to the one he got carded for in the first half, how on earth is it not a yellow the second time? If the ref decided it was worthy of a yellow once, it’s a yellow twice.

    • Brain Guy says:

      There was enough caution-worthy foul on Findley earlier in the first half, when Collin put him down with a kick across the shin just outside the area.

  12. crossmlk says:

    Wow, a lot of butt hurt RSL fans on here.

    • OPMG says:

      Of course we are. We’ve lost two finals this year that we should have won. Even after Collin miraculously escapes a second yellow we still hit the post 3 times in the game. I hate to take away from anything KC did throughout the year and in this game, but it feels more like we didn’t take the game when we should have than anything they did to win it.

      Side note: I hate the mentality that a finals game should be refereed any differently than a regular season game. Both sides took advantage and it just creates sloppy soccer in my opinion. Those guys were killing each other out there and the ref just sat and watched it happen. Until a ref has enough guts to show a red (when deserved) in a final we’ll continue to see a mix between rugby and soccer in important matches.

      • mouf says:

        Rimando made some crazy saves of ones that KC put on frame, a inch the other way and its completely different, just like your woodwork hits

        A lot of luck in the match, no doubt about it