O'Brien back to his steady self in return from injury

VANCOUVER, BC – It wasn't the result Andy O'Brien was hoping for on his return from a hamstring injury, but at least after getting through 90 minutes against the LA Galaxy in Saturday's 1-0 loss at BC Place, the 34-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender knows he's ready for the stretch drive.

After missing two months due to a muscle pull that seemed to linger on week after week, O'Brien won't have to answer questions about his fitness in the weeks to come.

“I'm glad it's over to be honest with you,” O'Brien told reporters at BC Place following Saturday's match. “I felt like I've been like 'rent-a-quote' this week, but I'm glad to get it out of the way, but disappointed that we didn't win.”

It wasn't a perfect return for O'Brien. He was at least partially culpable on Landon Donovan's third-minute game-winner, as both he and his centre back partner Johnny Leveron drifted toward Robbie Keane, leaving Donovan unmarked when a loose ball was poked free to the American international.

But after the goal, O'Brien was back to his steady self, and marshalled a backline that kept the Galaxy largely quiet overall on Saturday.

“Generally they didn't have too many great chances,” head coach Martin Rennie said after the match. “They scored a fantastic goal early on, one we could have defended better. But we didn't really give up a lot of clear chances, and I think Andy probably contributed to that and helped with that.”

The match also marked the first time O'Brien has played in front of goalkeeper David Ousted, and the Dane seemed impressed by the veteran defender's poise and presence.

“I think Andy did good,” Ousted said of O'Brien's play. “He's vocal, the same as me, and it's nice to have him down there. He did good, and I'm looking forward to seeing Andy get into a rhythm.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.

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