VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC still remain very much in the hunt in the Western Conference with 13 games of the season remaining.
No side has been able to really stamp their authority on the standings, but Vancouver's veteran centre back Andy O'Brien
feels that the ‘Caps have what it takes to be that team.
"I read a lot of opinions and I hear a lot of things of what we need and where we need to change things, but I don't think we're a million miles away from it clicking," O'Brien told MLSsoccer.com.
"Looking at the league table at this minute, it's waiting for someone to take it by the scruff of the neck. You look at LA, with the games in hand and the points, Salt Lake have done well, and Seattle. I think them three are probably going to make the playoffs, so it's a battle between the rest of us.
"People talk about statistics and things like that but the only one that matters is the results. We haven't been getting beat, but if we can transfer some of those draws into wins then all I'd say is that it's waiting for us to take it by that scruff of the neck."
O'Brien has been forced to watch Vancouver's last seven games from the sidelines, after a hip injury led to coach Carl Robinson
choosing to let the central defensive pairing of Carlyle Mitchell
and Johnny Leveron
have a undisrupted run in the team.
The Irish international is keen to get his place back in the starting line-up and show his worth again, putting in extra training during his side’s recent four days off.
“If I'm in the team I work hard, if I'm not, I work hard to get in it,” said O’Brien. “The job description's not changed."
O’Brien celebrated two years in Vancouver at the start of this month. Having turned 35-years-old in June and with his former central defensive partner Jay DeMerit recently announcing his retirement, it's easy for a player to turn his thoughts to his own playing career, although O'Brien doesn't see that day coming just yet.
"I think you do the older you get," O'Brien said about having thoughts of retirement. "I wouldn't say Jay's decision has made me think about it any more. One thing I'd definitely say is that I'm playing with a view to playing next year. I've got no intentions from myself of retiring, but again, that's going to be more dictated to how desirable you are. But in terms of my desire, it's as strong as it's ever been."
So far, he’s been very happy with his decision to play in Canada’s Pacific Northwest.
"I've really enjoyed it,” noted O’Brien. “Looking back now, hindsight's always a great thing, but to have been given the opportunity to come to the environment I have done has been fantastic and I continue to enjoy my time, the more that I spend here."