CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said he was not happy with his team’s play in the early portion of Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union at StubHub Center, with one exception.
Baggio Husidic scored in the 23rd minute, a goal that seemingly ignited the defending MLS Cup champions en route to a decisive 5-1 victory in front of a crowd of 23,875.
“Hopefully we can get more players to play as consistently well as he has,” Arena said.
He might have added versatile. It wasn’t that long ago that the 28-year-old played at left back because of a rash of injuries, and Husidic lined up at another position Saturday, that of left midfield.
But Husidic, in his second season in Los Angeles after coming over in a free transfer from Swedish side Hammarby IF in November of 2013, looked right at home in scoring his second goal of the season and adding a pair of assists.
The game was mired in a dull, scoreless first half when the Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes attempted a shot that ricocheted off the goal post. Husidic, however, collected the rebound and scored underneath diving Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.
That goal energized a Galaxy side that had appeared lethargic to that point. Husidic went on to assist on Juninho’s goal in the 35th minute and on Sebastian’s Lletget’s tally in the 65th minute.
“We were a bit sleepy at first, then that first goal obviously gives you momentum,” Husidic said.
Arena gave him deserved praise after the one-sided win.
“He’s played in a lot of spots and is a very good team player,” he said. “A very good player.”
Husidic said he has welcomed the challenge of playing different positions. He had only two days of training before being asked to play left back in a recent match against Orlando City, but he never complained about the lack of preparation.
“There’s never been many games where I’ve played in the same position, so it’s always entertaining,” he said. “I think I feel pretty comfortable in many positions at the moment.
“I just looked at it as another challenge, something fun to play in a different position. I really enjoyed playing right back and playing left back. It was something out of the normal, which I’ve never done before. I think most players get excited about that.”
The way Husidic looks at it, his expanded duties simply afford him another chance to get on the field.
“As a player, wherever you’re playing that’s all that really matters,” he said. “If that means I can play every game, I’ll play there.”