KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Aurelien Collin, soaked in champagne, pulled the black stocking cap that read “MLS Cup Champions” down over his ears and sheepishly shook his head from side to side.
The defender for Sporting Kansas City had never needed to try a penalty kick in his career.
Collin drove home the deciding penalty kick after Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake played to a 1-all draw Saturday, giving his team its first league championship since 2000.
“I hope I never have to kick another one again,” Collin said with a smile.
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Alvaro Saborio scored for Real Salt Lake in the 52nd minute, but Collin answered with a header in the 76th minute.
Collin was voted most valuable player of the Major League Soccer championship match that remained 1-1 through regulation and 30 minutes of overtime. Then the teams engaged in the longest penalty-kick shootout in championship history — one both sides had chances to win before Collin’s shot gave Sporting KC a 7-6 advantage in penalty kicks.
Real Salt Lake could have extended the tiebreaker, but Lovel Palmer’s shot bounced off the crossbar and the match was over.
“I never think that penalty kicks are the best way to end a game, but you can’t just keep going,” said Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes, who was on the team known then as the Kansas City Wizards that won the 2000 title. “You have to end it some way.”
Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi had a chance to wrap it up in the first stage of penalty kicks, but he missed high and Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales made good on his shot to force sudden death.
Real Salt Lake had a chance to win in the eighth round, but Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made a diving save on Sebastian Velasquez.
Two rounds later, Collin beat Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando.
It was the coldest MLS Cup in history, with a game-time temperature of 22 degrees and a wind chill of 12.