Julien Baudet hasn’t had the smoothest start to his MLS career.
Injuries and suspensions have befallen the big French defender he joined the Rapids last summer, impeding his shot at making his mark since arriving from Crewe Alexandra in England.
But Wednesday night Baudet turned a corner. Despite a 1-0 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy, the 31 year-old import was stifling against Galaxy forward Edson Buddle, holding the league’s top offensive threat off the scoreboard for just the second match this season.
With Drew Moor and Marvell Wynne apparent first-choice center backs so far this season, it has been difficult for Baudet to break into the starting lineup. The only previous occasion was against Kansas City, when he was sent off the in the second half of a 1-0 Rapids loss on April 10.
Rapids head coach Gary Smith brought the Frenchman in to foil Buddle for the LA game with Drew Moor moving out to the right in place of the injured Kosuke Kimura. It gave Baudet the chance to show his defensive mettle and his offensive chops, proving he’s a threat going forward when needed.
“Me, Drew, Marvell – we showed we are a very good partnership,” Baudet said after the Galaxy loss. “Gary decided to put me in and we did well tonight. Overall, I think we have to be pleased with that game, even though it’s hard to be positive. The only way is forward. We are very confident on the ball. If we are not confident now, we are never going to be. We firmly believe we have enough in our locker room to go forward and be a very successful team this year.”
“I thought the back four in general were terrific,” Smith said after the game. “Drew (Moor) and Julien did a wonderful job against two good forwards and the in-form forward in Edson. The opportunities he was restricted to were a testament to how well they played.”
The Rapids’ next game is on the road against DC United May 15.
Note: With Manchester United now scheduled to play Philadelphia on July 21st, the Rapids have rescheduled their home game against the Union to Sept. 29th.