KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nobody around Sporting Kansas City was too surprised when an independent review panel overturned Aurelien Collin's red card on Friday morning and cleared the center back to play in Saturday's home match against the LA Galaxy (6 pm ET; ESPN2).
“I didn't expect him to get a red card to begin with,” manager Peter Vermes said on Friday, shortly after the announcement of the unanimous decision to uphold Sporting's appeal. “So yes, I expected the card to be rescinded.”
So did Collin, who was sent off in the 55th minute of Sporting's 2-1 victory over Columbus on Wednesday night, after he and Crew substitute Adam Bedell collided while both challenged for a ball in the air. The collision left Bedell bloodied, but Collin said there was nothing wrong with the play.
“Everybody knows that I'm a very physical player,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I like contact, but I would never do something to hurt somebody or do something in wrong way. So I was pretty sure that I hadn't done anything wrong on this play. I'm very happy about it, but not surprised.”
- MATCH PREVIEW: Sporting Kansas City, LA Galaxy collide on ESPN2
The three-member panel consists of one representative from the U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association and Professional Referees Organization (PRO).
Collin, who is no stranger to cautions but didn't see the first straight red of his career until earlier this season, said his reputation for physical play likely contributed to Wednesday's sending-off.
“I know I have the reputation of winning the header and going strong on the guy,” he said, “and a lot of times the referee makes mistakes on my headers. This was another one. But it's just part of the game.”
The committee's decision means a third straight start for the center back tandem of Collin and Matt Besler – a rarity so far this year, as Collin has struggled with hamstring issues and Besler was with the US national team during the World Cup.
“We're trying to get some continuity in our team right now, especially with everything that we've had,” Vermes said. “And now to lose a player because of something that didn't actually occur would have made us change a considerable amount. So to keep some continuity in the group is very important.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.