Aurelien Collin scored in the 76th minute and converted Sporting Kansas City’s tenth and final penalty to give his club their first championship since 2000 in Saturday’s 1-1 (7-6 on PKs) win over Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park.
Collin answered Alvaro Saborio’s 52nd minute strike to send the match into overtime, where it remained knotted at one before penalties were employed. It took ten rounds to decide the championship tilt, with Collin’s hit deciding it after Lovel Palmer’s shot hit the crossbar.
“Today was a very complicated game,” Collin told the media after the match. “We had a lot of opportunities and they did also. When we were one goal down, we kept our composure and tried even harder.”
A pair of former New England Revolution players – midfielder Benny Feilhaber (2011-12) and left back Seth Sinovic (2010-2011) – both earned their first championship rings in Saturday’s clash.
After a scoreless first half, the guests jumped onto the board minutes into the second frame. Kyle Beckerman lofted a perfect pass over the Sporting defense for Saborio, who then slid it past Jimmy Nielsen before a stunned Sporting Park crowd.
But Collin, who scored a pair of goals in the Conference Semifinals against the New England Revolution, added his third of the postseason when he elevated above two Sporting defenders to head Zusi’s corner kick out of the reach of Nick Rimando.
The match remained level at the end of regulation, forcing the championship affair to overtime. However, the extra 30 minutes did nothing to separate the sides, and penalties were introduced.
What transpired next was nothing short of high drama. Both sides remained knotted at 3-3 after the first five tries, and five more were needed befoe a victor emerged. Collin knocked his try true before Palmer’s attempted crashed off the crossbar and turf to seal Sporting’s second championship in club history.
“We kept playing good soccer and tried to move forward.” Collin said. “We were patient with the ball and had a lot of opportunities. I feel very happy that in the end we won that game. Over the whole season, we deserve it.”