O'Brien leaves Red-and-White for USA
CARSON, Calif. - John O'Brien's time with Chivas USA will be put on hold starting today.
O'Brien trained with the Red-and-White on Tuesday. Like most other players on the team, O'Brien ran through fitness and passing drills on the club's training field. Today, he leaves for Cary, N.C. where he will join the U.S. national team's pre-World Cup camp.
As he did when he joined Chivas USA in early April, O'Brien's objective is to get healthy and ready to contribute in games.
"My mindset is the same as it's been. I've just got to move forward fitness-wise and get out there every day and train and hopefully get a lot of my touch back in tighter situations," O'Brien said. "The level with the national team will be a little higher than here so that will be good for me."
However, O'Brien played little with Chivas. In the three league games he was available for, O'Brien played just the final six minutes of one game, a 2-1 loss to the Galaxy on April 15. He sat on the bench for the club's game at D.C. United on April 8 and missed the club's last match, an April 29 encounter against New York, with a strained calf.
O'Brien did play 85 and 90 minutes respectively in a pair of friendlies following the Galaxy game, however.
Still, O'Brien must show he will be able to contribute to the team in the World Cup. U.S. manager Bruce Arena said recently that if O'Brien is "not able to overcome any kind of injury, he will be a candidate for a possible replacement on the roster."
O'Brien said he is eyeing one of the USA's three friendlies later this month.
"That's definitely one of my goals, to get in one and if I can more," he said. "During the camp, we'll have competitive training and a lot of scrimmages that will mirror that competitive atmosphere. That's a step I need to take."
The United States will play the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana in the World Cup. Still, O'Brien said he is more concerned about regaining his fitness level than the World Cup opponents entering into camp.
"A lot of it for me is getting my fitness back. The closer you get to the World Cup, you start thinking more about your opponents," he said. "You've got to get yourself in the right place to perform well first before you worry about the opponents."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.