HANOVER, N.J. – Tim Parker had been a part of two US national team camps but until last week, never made an appearance with the senior side. All that changed over the past couple of weeks as the New York Red Bulls center back earned two caps, including an impressive 90 minutes in a 1-1 result at France.
Since joining the Red Bulls this offseason in a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Parker has solidified the center of what was a leaky defense a year ago. He’s been dominant in the air and has formed a partnership alongside Aaron Long that helped the Red Bulls to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and propelled them to a decent league position to date. Parker and Red Bulls teammate Tyler Adams played in both matches for the United States this month.
On June 2, Parker made his international debut in the second half of a 2-1 loss in Ireland in a showing that featured some jitters but also some solid play. But his performance a week later in France turned heads, making several key clearances and winning all of his individual battles in the draw.
“It was just a great experience. I think me and Tyler walked out one behind the other, and we were just saying what an experience this is going to be to obviously get the chance to play,” Parker said. “It was just something that I think you’ll remember, an environment and something like that where they’re off to the World Cup and their country wants to send them off the right way, and we obviously wanted to play the villain in that story. I think we did a pretty good job.”
For the Red Bulls, Parker has been everything this team hoped for and needed from a center back. He’s showcased good vision and understanding with solid positioning, as well as fantastic instincts. Playing for a team that presses and counter-presses like the Red Bulls can expose a defender, but Parker has been nearly flawless in his reading of the game.
His play for RBNY led to this call-up, and to his credit, Parker stepped up and performed well at that level.
Parker clearly enjoyed the experience with the United States, as did his father, who went along with some family members to catch the national team’s swing through Ireland and France. After the match, Parker said he planned on doing a jersey exchange with a French counterpart but missed the opportunity as he stopped by to see his father in the stands.
By the time he returned to the tunnel where the exchange was to take place, all of the French players were already inside their locker room.
For the Red Bulls, the call-ups for Adams and Parker are a good thing. Both players bring confidence back with them having both performed well at the international level.
“For Tim to get his first start, in that kind of environment, is pretty awesome,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “When I heard it was five in the back, I thought it would be helpful for him to deal with some of their attackers and I thought he stood up tall in almost every moment he had on the field, so it was really good to see him perform the way we know he can.”