Julien Baudet was completing his first full preseason with the club a little over two weeks ago when a late calf injury derailed him just days before the season opener.
Instead of starting the first game, the veteran center back was forced to watch from the bench as the club earned just their second opening shutout in team history with a 1-0 win at Chivas USA.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Baudet said after Friday’s practice. “We came out of a long pre-season, eight or nine weeks, and I went through that without any problem. Not one blister; nothing, not one knock. Then a week before the season, I tore my calf (muscle).”
Impressed by the performance of the back four after the Chivas game, head coach Gary Smith kept the same lineup in the team’s second game, a 2-2 draw with Chicago last Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“I was very disappointed, very frustrated,” added the Frenchman. “I was just too shot to play against Chivas, and then because the boys did very well against Chivas, Gary (Smith) didn’t want to change the system; didn’t want to change the team, and I totally understand that.”
Baudet made his season debut late in the Chicago match. He replaced left back Danny Earls, but moved to the center of the backline with Drew Moor shifting out to the left side. The team pushed hard in the final minutes, but could not come up with the winning tally.
“When you look at last week’s results, I think that it’s an understatement to say that we were all disappointed,” Baudet said about the draw with Chicago. “It was a disappointing result for the fans, the club, for all of us, because we wanted to win and we had enough in the game to win it. We got sloppy a couple of times and they punished us on two occasions.”
The Rapids are preparing to face the Kansas City Wizards twice over the next five days. On Saturday, Colorado and KC meet in a regular season contest. Then, next Tuesday, the two sides meet again in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier.
In their season opener, the Wizards defeated D.C. United 4-0. They were off last week, but continued to show well with dominating exhibition wins against a second division pro club and a college team.
“We will be ready for this, whatever they are going to throw at us,” said Baudet on facing Kansas City. “I think we are well equipped to deal with it. It’s going to be down to us now, to really push forward and really make a statement to every other team that this year, we mean business.”
When the Frenchman arrived from English club Crewe Alexandra last summer, he quickly gained the respect of his peers for his dominating presence in the center of the backline. He played in 10 games to finish the 2009 season, and is looking forward to getting back in the lineup after another full week of training.
“It’s been a week in training that I didn’t feel anything in my calf,” concluded Baudet. “So now, we’ll see, hopefully we’ll do well in Kansas and I’ll be a part of it.”