KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin rose up to head home a crucial equalizer with 14 minutes remaining in MLS Cup 2013. And he would later to step up to bag an important penalty kick in the 10th round of the shootout that decided the MLS Cup champion.
But should the eventual Volkswagen MLS Cup 2013 MVP have even been on the field for either of those events?
Not according to Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley, who felt Collin deserved a second yellow when Findley was taken down in the 69th minute, a tackle that interrupted an RSL attack just outside the SKC penalty area.
WATCH: Collin gets 1st-half yellow
"I definitely thought it was a second yellow," Findley told MLSsoccer.com. "It’s the decision [the referee] made, and I can’t really do anything about it. We know there were going to be calls that were going their way."
Said RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy: "I’m not a referee and I’m not in his shoes, but it may be difficult just thinking to send a player off."
RSL manager Jason Kreis refused to go either way when asked about the Collin foul on Findley.
"Would it surprise you if I said I don’t remember that play?" Kreis quipped in his post-game press conference. "I think there was a lot of taking down by Collin throughout the match. Really, really undisciplined stuff in the first half. One time he wasn’t even called for the foul."
That instance came in the 23rd minute, when Collin charged hard from behind on Findley. But despite the RSL player protests, the MLS Referee of the Year Hilario Grajeda did not call an infraction.
Only 12 minutes later came Collin's first caution card of the match. Once again, the target was Findley, who was the most effective RSL forward for long stretches of the opening half.
"We were expecting it," Findley said. "We knew they were going to come and hit us hard and be physical up top."
"I wasn’t going to the referees asking for anything tonight," Kreis said. "I don’t think it was the night for it, and I thought it would have been wasted effort and wasted breath."