CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy are looking for greater depth and dynamism in attack, and their hope is the acquisition of former Chicago Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic will help as they begin retooling for the 2014 season.
Head coach Bruce Arena on Monday confirmed the Galaxy have signed Husidic, whose MLS rights they acquired from the Colorado Rapids in the July trade that brought Pablo Mastroeni to Southern California.
Husidic, 26, played three seasons with his hometown Fire, making 52 MLS appearances, regular season and playoffs, with 33 starts, five goals and six assists.
“He's an experienced player who can play in different positions in the midfield, so I think he'll offer a value to our team, for sure,” Arena told reporters. “... He's a good passer of the ball; that's something we can always be better at. I think he'll be a good addition to our team.”
Husidic was acquired by Colorado in the 2011 re-entry phase but instead signed in Sweden with Hammarby, who are co-owned by Galaxy owners AEG. He's spent the past two seasons with the club, most of that time under the direction of former Galaxy defender/assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, who last week was hired to guide the Columbus Crew.
Associate head coach Dave Sarachan has known Husidic since his teens. His son, Ian, competed against the Bosnian-born midfielder in high school, they were teammates at Illinois-Chicago, and Husidic served as best man when Ian was married last year.
Sarachan said Husidic's versatility is valuable.
“I think Baggio's a guy that has real flexibility in terms of position,” Sarachan said. “He can play centrally, he can play in a diamond, out wide. I know at Hammarby he played at center back a few weeks. What that means is he's got a soccer brain.”
Husidic was a Chicagoland prodigy, a player “you could just tell was destined to play professional soccer,” Sarachan said.
“He has the right mentality and work ethic, and I think all his experiences [with the Fire and at Hammarby], they've all sort of added up in terms of his overall growth, in terms of knowing what it takes physically, mentally. He's got a strong mental background. Failing doesn't affect him. He's got a component in him that he's always looking to improve and compete.”
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Arena also said that veteran left back Todd Dunivant has been re-signed.
Dunivant, 32, is an 11-year MLS veteran who has been with the Galaxy since 2009 after playing with the club in 2005 and part of 2006. The new deal, he said, was for two years.
“I felt as good this year as I have felt, so from that standpoint, I'm excited about it,” said Dunivant, who was then asked how much longer he thought he could play.
“You never know,” he replied, “but I feel like I've gotten stronger, you get smarter as it goes along, you learn how to manage a season.”