Vancouver Whitecaps anxious to hear status of Andy O'Brien's hamstring injury following MRI

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie and his staff will be crossing all their fingers and toes that Andy O’Brien's hamstring injury isn’t serious.

The 33-year-old center back was unavailable to the media on Monday as he was undergoing an MRI to determine the extent of the damage of an injury suffered in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

“He said today it’s not hurting him as much as it was at the weekend, which is a good sign,” Rennie told reporters at the University of British Columbia following a training session. “It seems to be hopefully a little less of a problem than we first thought, but he’s going to get an MRI today and then we should have a clearer idea on the full extent of it.

“Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

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Indeed, if it does turn out to be a serious injury, or one that niggles on for some time as Kenny Miller’s hamstring did for about two months in the early stages of his season, it will be a massive blow for the Whitecaps backline.

Apart from O’Brien, fellow center back Brad Rusin is out with a calf problem and captain Jay DeMerit has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon on opening day.

The fact the Whitecaps traded Alain Rochat last week, a left fullback capable of playing as a central defender, has exacerbated the team’s issues there.

“As soon as [O’Brien] got injured, I knew that would be an obvious question,” Rennie responded to a reporter who brought up the trade. “We made that decision for the bigger picture. We have ideas of what we’re going to do on the back of that trade, and I think that will become clear over time, but it’s unfortunate the timing, but that’s the way it goes.”

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The club has recalled Carlyle Mitchell from his loan at FC Edmonton as a result, and the Trinidad and Tobago international is the favorite to slot in alongside Johnny Leverón next weekend as the ‘Caps play the New England Revolution at home.

“I rate Carlyle Mitchell really highly,” Rennie said. “I think that he’s really athletic. I was speaking to the coach of Trinidad and Tobago just the other week there and he said that he was their best player in the qualifying for the Gold Cup.

“He said he would have him first on his team sheet above even any of the players that were playing in the [English Premier League], so that spoke very highly of Carlyle.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.