KANSAS CITY, Kan. – As one of just two players given the full 90 in the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, Aurélien Collin might have spared some energy for Sporting Kansas City's important Eastern Conference date with New York on Saturday (6:30 pm ET, NBCSN).
That's not how Collin does things, though. The French centerback was up and down the pitch all night in the All-Stars' 3-1 loss to AS Roma at Sporting Park.
“You know me. I'm like that,” he said afterward. “It was a party, an exhibition game, but every time we have the opportunity to represent the United States, especially in Europe, I'm always 200 percent.”
All-Star manager Peter Vermes knows that well enough as Collin's manager with Sporting. And he wasn't worried about Collin not being able to get back up for Saturday's match against the Red Bulls, who trail Kansas City by one point for the East lead.
“I actually let him play 90 so that I could wear him down,” Vermes said in the postmatch news conference, “so that he'd be really calm for Saturday's game."
Vermes was joking, of course.
“I thought he played really well,” he said. “I thought he was good for 90 minutes.”
Collin – whose All-Star Week activities included his first fashion show – said he doesn't know any other way to play.
“I'm the winner. I'm the soldier,” he said. “I took the game very seriously today. I wanted to win.”
Consequently, he wasn't satisfied with his performance – especially on Roma's first goal, just over three minutes into the match, when his attempt to tackle the ball away from Kevin Strootman deflected off the Dutch midfielder's foot and into the net.
“I thought I was okay, and then the other striker [Strootman] came in very fast,” he said. “I tried to tackle it, but I didn't have the right touch. It touched him back, and it went in the goal. So he was lucky, but I should have been better on the tackle. I was very upset about it, but it happens.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.