He scored the equalizer in the 2013 MLS Cup final. He delivered the decisive blow in the 10th round of penalty kicks. He was named the MLS Cup MVP.
He had no business being on the pitch.
Three months have passed, yet the perception hasn't changed. The physical play Aurelien Collin is now synonymous with what went unpunished in the second half of the MLS Cup final. A tactical foul in the 69th minute—six minutes before his equalizer—should have been his second yellow and final contribution for the 2013 season.
History will show it wasn't.
What history will show, however, is that Collin committed the most fouls of any defender last season. His 65 rash challenges across all competitions was 18 more than the second-closest defender (Rodney Wallace). Collin also led the league with 15 cautions in 2013, 11 of which were whistled for mistimed tackles.
That was also the most in MLS.
With the reputation Collin has for leaving his opponents black and blue, this is starting to turn into the colors to watch.
Yet for all of his savagery on the pitch, the Frenchman did manage to total 521 defensive actions last season. That—you guessed it—was enough to lead the league. At center-back, Collin ranked No. 1 in interceptions (153) and clearances (354). Just to paint the all-around picture, he also won the most headed duels in 2013. His 164 aerials won allowed him to lead all defenders with three headed goals.
So, no, Collin's brute physicality isn't aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It is, however, effective. As long as the Frenchman continues to find the perfect balance, his statistical performance will be the most enjoyable of any defender in 2014.