A pillar of consistency when he was brought in midway through the 2012 season, 2013 sure was a weird one for Andy O'Brien. For the first part of the season, O'Brien was arguably the 'Caps best defender, and the perfect guy to take the reigns over from the injured Jay Demerit. Then came a hamstring injury against Seattle, and O'Brien was forced to watch from the sidelines. When he finally did return to the pitch two months later, he wasn't as calm as before, his play looking more scrambly. He would sit the final weeks of the season, after the emergence of Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell.
Now, with four matches under his belt through 2014, O'Brien has looked like his old self, making simple plays, winning battles in the air, and using his size to his advantage. It was a telling moment when Carl Robinson decided to rest the Captain of the Whitecaps, Jay Demerit, when the team traveled to New England. However, the other 34 year old center back on the team went to New England, and then played the full 90 minutes. In fact, O'Brien has played every single minute, save a 77' minute substitution against Chivas USA back on March 16th.
The soccer gods haven't let his hard work go unnoticed either.
Just who was that heading the Morales ball over to Harvey for the opening goal of the match? Andy O'Brien, with his first ever assist in MLS. (Although, I feel like Morales should get the most credit because of that pass)
The 'Caps backline is going to be their strength as the club guides it's way through the season. Like any team, the scoring is going to run through peaks and valleys, so the club needs their defense to be at their best match in, and match out. There were concerns at the beginning of the year that Demerit and O'Brien just might not be able to bring their lunchpails and go to work every day because of their birth-dates, but those seem to be on the back burner, for now at least. It's a long season and plenty could still happen, but for now, the 'Caps look pretty smart for inking O'Brien till at least the end of 2014.
The season beyond this is murky, especially with some guy named Christian Dean now adding to the competition for the position. That being said, if O'Brien keeps his play up, it would make it hard for the 'Caps to displace him.