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Baudet returns early from injury to lead Rapids past first-place Dynamo

August 30, 2009 | 10:30 pm No comments
By George Tanner

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Rapids midfielder Jacob Peterson outleaps Houston defender Wade Barrett during Colorado’s 1-0 victory over the league-leading Dynamo on Sunday in Commerce City. (photo by Jonathan Ingraham/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)


A little more than a month ago, Rapids defender Julien Baudet was lying on the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, his wrist and hand pointing one way, his forearm pointing another.

A few days after breaking two bones in his left forearm, Baudet was undergoing surgery to repair the injury.

On Sunday afternoon against the league-leading Houston Dynamo, Baudet was on the field. Not only did he play, but he scored the only goal in Colorado’s 1-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

“It was just a matter of getting match fit, which I wasn’t,” Baudet said. “(Coach) Gary (Smith) rang me and said, ‘I think we can use your experience today,’ and he made a good decision.’ ”

Smith’s call paid off because the Rapids lost central defender Cory Gibbs to a leg injury in the first dozen minutes of Sunday’s match. The situation prompted the return of Baudet about a week sooner than coach or player had planned.

Smith said he planned to use Baudet in a reserve-team scrimmage against Regis University at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the training pitch at Dick’s. Then, he said, he would evaluate Baudet’s conditioning to see if would be ready to play Saturday at home against Toronto.

And Baudet was not alone in the role of unlikely hero against the Dynamo.

Mehdi Ballouchy also entered the game because of an injury, and the midfielder served the corner kick that led to Baudet’s winning goal in the 55th minute. Ballouchy sent the ball right to the top of the goal box, and Baudet headed it in from six yards out for his first goal with the Rapids.

A couple minutes later, the Rapids won another corner, and Ballouchy again looked for Baudet.

“Yeah, it worked once. Why not twice?” Baudet said. “The delivery’s got to be right. You go and attack a space. And if the ball’s there, it’s a 50-50 with your marker and who’s going to want to want it more. And on (the first) occasion, no one.”

Ballouchy was in place because winger Jamie Smith went down about 30 minutes into the game and appeared to be grabbing his left knee. He resumed playing but had to leave in the 34th minute.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Baudet.

SAVE OF THE GAME: Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was credited with only one save in the official stats, and it was a beauty against Kei Kamara in the 49th minute. The Houston striker got behind the Rapids’ defense and was alone with Pickens. Kamara could’ve shot up, down, left or right, and he chose to stay low. Pickens got down quickly and smothered the shot.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME BAUDET SCORED A WINNING GOAL? “Probably five years ago,” Baudet said. “I think it was even more than that. I think it was a free kick in the FA Cup against Bristol City.”

GARY SMITH’S OPTIONS ON DEFENSE: When Gibbs left the pitch, the Rapids’ head coach had these options: Baudet; Rob Valentino, who looked very good in a recent training match against the Colorado School of Mines; and Michael Holody, whose loan to Real Maryland ended this week. Scott Palguta was not among the players available on the bench because he tweaked his right calf in the first half Sunday against Chicago.

ANOTHER LOAN ENDED: Goalkeeper Steward Ceus is expected to return to the team this week after being on loan to the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues’ Second Division.

GIBBS HURT: The Rapids said Gibbs may have hurt a muscle in his thigh. He limped to the locker room at halftime, and he was still limping when he left the locker room after the game.

SMITH HURT: Jamie Smith said he felt his leg pinned under a Houston player during a collision and felt something in his left knee. He said he wasn’t sure of the extent of his injury.

OMAR APPARENTLY NOT HURT BADLY: Pat Noonan replaced striker Omar Cummings for the final 20 minutes. The Rapids said Omar had been bothered by a slight hip strain during the week. 

GALLERY OF HONOR: Former Rapids striker and current Dynamo assistant coach John Spencer was inducted into the Rapids’ Gallery of Honor at halftime. He was welcomed to the club by members Marcelo Balboa and Paul Bravo and by Rapids alumni Rafael Amaya, Chris Martinez, Ritchie Kotschau, Seth Trembly, Eric Denton and Wes Hart.

IT WON’T SHOW UP IN THE BOX SCORE, BUT … Kosuke Kimura had a beautiful little nudge on Luis Angel Landin in the 68th minute that allowed Pickens enough time to smother a dangerous pass into the box.

AND HEADED BACK THE OTHER WAY … Almost immediately after Kimura’s deft play, Houston defender Geoff Camerion knew exactly how much shoulder to use to force Cummings off the ball in the Dynomo’s penalty area to prevent a scoring chance.

BUSY WEEKEND: The fourth official on the field, Ben Chouaf, also was the fourth official at the Colorado-Illinois and Denver-St. Mary’s matches on Friday at the University of Denver.

DYNAMO STARTERS: Onstad, Hainault, Boswell, Cameron, Barrett, Mullan, Clark, Holden, Davis, Ching, Kamara.

RAPIDS STARTERS: Pickens, Kimura, Gibbs, Ihemelu, Harvey, Smith, LaBrocca, Mastroeni, Peterson, Casey, Cummings.

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