KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Aurélien Collin remains convinced he did nothing wrong. So does his manager.
But after being whistled for two penalty-kick fouls in as many games, Sporting Kansas City’s French center back is also savvy enough to know that something has to change – and he can’t expect it to be the officiating.
“Even if there was no foul, the referee still whistled it,” Collin said after Thursday’s training session, “so right now I’m going to have to be more focused.”
The first penalty was awarded to Montreal’s Lamar Neagle, in the Montreal Impact’s 2-0 upset victory in Kansas City on May 5. Then, in last week’s 2-1 away loss to Chicago, Collin was whistled for bringing down Dominic Oduro in the box. Both opportunities turned into goals.
WATCH: Collin whistled for foul on Oduro
“The first tackle, for me, there is no PK,” Collin said. “I’ve seen the video, but maybe the way the referee sees it, he sees a PK. I thought it was a mistake at first, but they did it again a second time, so I don’t know what to think.
“I know that I will never, ever tackle again in the box. That’s just my conclusion by now.”
Collin has the backing of manager Peter Vermes, though, especially on the call against the Fire.
“There was no contact against Oduro,” Vermes said earlier this week. “I have the clip. There was no contact. Doesn’t even touch him.”
That said, Collin didn’t let himself off the hook for giving up the one-on-one opportunities.
“My position at the beginning was not the right one,” he said. “I had to recover and tackle it.”
The center back wasn’t the only one bearing responsibility, Vermes said.
“There’s many other things that happened, before we got to that point, that we could have done better on,” he said. “So it’s a lesson, you learn from it and you move on.”
Collin was playing sick during the Fire game, but said he didn’t back off from his usual aggressive style because of the illness: “Even if my leg were broken, I would play the same way I play.”
Collin, who didn’t train Monday or Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s game at Colorado (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online), said he came down with flu-like symptoms – swollen glands, a sore throat and fatigue – some time ago.
“The last two weeks I was sick, but not too much,” he said. “Then, going to Chicago with the cold weather and everything, I was very sick. So I went to see the doctor Monday morning, got an antibiotic. I’ve been resting, and now I have a new body, new mind, ready to go.”
And when he does hit the pitch, how long will that resolve not to tackle in the area hold up?
Collin shrugged and laughed.
“I know I’m saying that, but sometimes during the game you don’t have time to think,” he said. “I’m going to think a little more, but sometimes it’s down to things you have to do.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.