Sporting Kansas City has something special at work. A key injury could significantly shift the calculus, but at the moment Peter Vermes’ team is the early, top contender to claim Major League Soccer’ big pot of gold.
And the message doesn’t seem lost on a couple of important figures around Livestrong Sporting Park.
In all honesty, things are going so well for 6-0-0 Sporting KC, the chief threats to train derailment are probably internal, not external. More to the point, two figures are highly useful and effective players when they remain under control, when they tackle rather than try to mangle, when they remain on task rather than venturing off into sidebars of intimidation or administering some sort of frontier justice.
Midfielder Roger Espinoza and center back Aurelien Collin are skillful professionals who sometimes manage to undermine their own abilities by swinging a sledgehammer when only a chisel and a few solid taps are required. They can become overly physical or, on their worst days, range into the realm of “wildly dangerous and out of control.”
But generally in 2012 they’ve been on their best behavior – apparently gaining a firmer grasp on the big picture. Espinoza has been quality this year, without unnecessarily incurring referee wrath.
Meanwhile, Collin demonstrated exactly what he can be on Saturday. His timing in the tackle was spotless. His focus was elite level. His battles with Real Salt Lake’s similarly feisty Fabian Espindola were a joy to watch, physical without ever turning red-hot. No disrespect to the highly competent Matt Besler, but Collin is the Sergeant along Kansas City’s back line, and he’s the main reason SKC has yet to concede a goal in the run of play this year.
When a center back performs as well as he does Saturday, and scores the game-winning goal, securing all three points against a strong Real Salt Lake side, who else would get the ProSoccerTalk Player of the Week?
Past ProSoccerTalk Players of the Week:
Round 1: Kalif Alhassan, Portland
Round 2: David Estrada, Seattle
Round 3: Thierry Henry, New York
Round 4: Thierry Henry, New York
Round 5: Kenny Cooper, New York
Round 6: Aurelien Collin, Sporting Kansas City