Hunter Freeman

Rapids after two new players, still on hunt for coach

Even though the Colorado Rapids have a hole at the head coach position, they’re still finding a way to add players on the field.

The Rapids drafted midfielder Baggio Husidic and defender Hunter Freeman (above) during Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Monday in hopes they can come to terms with the new players and shore up their depth and challenge for starting spots in 2012.

Freeman is the most likely of the two to battle for a role in the starting lineup after he started 22 games for the Houston Dynamo in 2011. He played for the Rapids for two seasons after being drafted by the club out of Virginia in 2005 and later went on to play in Norway for IK Start, and could offer some much needed competition for Anthony Wallace at the left back position.

He could also be called upon at right back or more centrally, according to Rapids technical director Paul Bravo.

“He’s flexible,” Bravo told on Wednesday. “In his senior year at UVA, he was the leading assist guy in the nation and he has the ability to provide quality service.”

Husidic, meanwhile, saw his starts drop from 18 in 2010 to nine last year for the Chicago Fire. He could be a complement to the Rapids’ established midfield pairing of Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz.

“He’s very comfortable with the ball, he has good vision and he’s great at getting into the box,” Bravo said. “He’s a real box-to-box midfielder and a kid we first saw a lot of at the college level.”

Bravo said the club was still working out something with the league in terms of reaching a deal to secure the two players’ services. The Rapids have to offer a deal within seven days of Monday’s draft.

The club is still actively searching for a head coach to replace the deposed Gary Smith, and Bravo said this week the club has not recently interviewed any additional candidates for the position. ESPN recently named two of those as former Fire coach and Rapids player Denis Hamlett and former New York Red Bulls assistant Richie Williams.

The other two are understood to be Vancouver director of soccer Tommy Soehn and one of the members of FC Dallas’ coaching staff.

 “We are doing our due diligence at this point and working towards a decision,” Bravo said.

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