Carson, CA. – It was nothing more than a preseason match, but the Galaxy’s Baggio Husidic found the five-time MLS Cup champion’s 3-0 victory over New York City FC at StubHub Center on Saturday more gratifying than usual.
And for good reason. The popular midfielder, who played the entire second half – Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid divided his squad into two groups, with each one playing 45 minutes — had a goal and an assist and even wore the captain’s armband for the first time in his playing career.
“That was more special than the goal,” he said of the leadership honor. “It was a nice reward.”
Husidic, who turns 31 in May, wouldn’t go so far as to say it made him feel old.
“Close,” he said with a laugh. “Once the one hits after the three, but the 30 is still new.”
Saturday’s performance marked his first substantial amount of playing time since last May 21, when he suffered a broken right leg against Minnesota United and was limited to only 10 games in 2017.
And to contribute offensively – he assisted on rookie Tomas Hilliard-Arce’s goal in the 70th minute and scored on a rebound in extra time – was satisfying as well.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.
“Any time you get to score a goal it doesn’t matter what competition it is. It’s good for the team, it’s good for the coaches and it puts me in a better position.”
It’s not that his spot on the roster is tenuous, but the Galaxy did conduct a sizeable roster overhaul during the off-season. Close to a dozen new players were brought in, but Husidic said he wasn’t worried with the influx of talent. He’s been in this situation before and has grown accustomed to it.
“It’s been like this for the last four or five years,” he admitted. “You can’t really go in with the mindset of a starter or non-starter. The season is long and I’ve been playing for 10 years, so I know things happen, positions move and players perform well or poorly.
“You have to be ready. You can’t take anything personal with the first 11, the ‘A’ team. You have to put your head down and work and eventually, you’ll get rewarded for it.”
Speaking of rewards, Husidic said he was confident the Galaxy, trying to bounce back from the worst season in franchise history – they finished last overall in MLS with an 8-18-8 record, including only three victories at home — will see the benefits of their off-season reconstruction.
“We were sitting on the bench in the first half, and it was so much fun to watch,” he said. “Really exciting, so much talent on the field.
“I’m really excited for the season.”