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Tim Parker impresses in first matches with USMNT


When you earn your first caps for your national team, there are always going to be some nerves when the match kicks off. Throw in a match against World Cup hopefuls France in Lyon and that is expected to add to your heart rate a little more.

For Tim Parker, this international break has given him the chance to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team for the first time. After earning his first cap in a 2-1 loss in Ireland, Parker started on Saturday and played the full 90 minutes as the USMNT got a 1-1 draw against Les Bleus.

Starting in a back-five with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga as his centerback partners, Parker helped Dave Sarachan’s side to a positive ending to their three-match international break.

“There were some nerves to the start of the match,” Parker said. “It’s an intimidating game and environment but we have to step up to the plate when our name is called and I think we did a good job.”

Parker has shined in his time in MLS since beginning his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015. Gradually with Vancouver, Parker saw his appearances grow each season and was a defensive leader for the team throughout 2017. The 2018 season has seen him move to the Eastern Conference as he was traded to the New York Red Bulls prior to the start of the regular season.

Saturday’s test against France was probably his biggest yet with the never-ending list of offensive firepower that the hosts head at their disposal. Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud all starting up front while Paul Pogba featured in midfield. Parker and his backline were pressured heavily, but fought back and held France to only one goal for all of their work.

“The first 10-15 minutes we weren’t as clean as we wanted to be and I think that was due to the nerves,” Parker said. “But when we needed to buckle down and weather the storm I think we did a good job. When you have a guy like Zach behind you making saves like he was, it’s always a good feeling.”

The U.S. may not have earned a victory for their strong defending, but they did claim their first ever result against France. After being shutout in their prior three friendlies, the U.S. scored their first goal and showed that even a younger squad can still put in the work to frustrate a European heavyweight like they did on Saturday.

“Defensively, I think our team did a terrific job in terms of what we wanted to do,” Sarachan said. “The shape throughout the match, the ability to close the match out which we didn’t do against Ireland was important and I can’t say tonight was a poor performance at all for our guys.”

Parker earned his first senior caps this trip with the U.S., like many other American hopefuls. While his national team is not competing in Russia this summer, there is still a lot for the future that the defender is optimistic about.

“What we can take away from this trip is great experiences in great environments,” Parker said. “Against some good competition, the next step is to take this and go with it.”

Parker now will return to the Red Bulls who host the Seattle Sounders in MLS play on June 13th.


  1. The service to Frances goal came from Parker’s side. He was out of position and his angle left him defending dead space. All he had to do was maintain his line and there would not have been space for the cross into the box.

  2. i’m likin’ everything about this: parker’s excellent play and humble attitude, sarachan’s steady hand at the wheel, the first result and first goal against france, larry’s story about it and the comments under it.

  3. OK. I’ve been beating the Tim Parker drum for a few years. I”m a Whitecaps season ticket holder and I’ve always been impressed by the following: (1) his compete level, (2) he wins almost everything in the air, (3) he covered up a lot Kendal Waston’s brain farts, (4) he has this knack for blocking shots that look like they will be great opportunities. Additionally, when our U23’s played Columbia for a shot at the Olympics, he was the best player on the field that day playing big against a tricky opponent. Holes in his game– YES. (1) Gets his head to a lot of offensive corners which always get popped over the goal. (2) If not playing with a CB he knows well, can get sucked out of position due to agressiveness, (3) only avg distributor because he’s a destroyer. (4) Might be too nice of a guy to play CB.

  4. Parker has been a great defender for the NY Red Bull.He did nothing to tarnish his image as a great defender. He positions well, tackles strongly, defends in the air, can pass the ball very well and he is a big enough body that attackers do not relish contact with him after the first time they find how hard he is.

  5. Parker deserves a little credit and an article because compared to many recent would be players, he played up to billing — though big picture you really need to do it 5-10 times to sell it long term — and he’s been made to go through the ringer of being a camp body, of being a bench player, and finally got his chance. One thing I want to see this cycle is a defense composed less of “two way players” or evaluated on how it “gets forward,” but instead primarily graded on one on one defending, with the rest seen as a tiebreaker among equally competent defenders. I for one think we can be BOTH a stout team defense AND a speedy finesse offense.

  6. I don’t doubt there were more than a few dudes on that team who might have get a more-than-passing look from European clubs after that. The team was so incredibly young, that they pulled a 1-1 result will open some eyebrows, especially against a team as loaded as France was. And the youth of these guys will make them highly attractive. If they’re competitive now, how good will they be in 2-3 years?

    Parker certainly didn’t hurt his stock any. Robinson definitely didn’t hurt his stock any. Julian Green definitely didn’t. Tyler Adams was probably already headed to Europe; now he almost certainly is. You could conceivably even see Will Trapp get a look, and certainly Zack Steffen, again.

    Yeah, we bunkered. It may have still been a great launchpad for both the team and the individuals within it.

  7. *insert snap judgment on players future and ability based off one friendly game*

    For the record though I think he should get more call ups. He’s passed the test so far

    • Seems like we have quite a few players like this–good MLS players who do okay to well, look promising, but then don’t get called in after a few caps. Remember when Zimmerman and Hedges were to be the future? Then there was DC United’s Birnbaum who looked good when Klinsmann called him in but then got forgotten when it came to qualifying (he couldn’t have done worse than OG). In the U-20’s Justin Glad looked good and he’s a regular at RSL, saved a couple of goals last night against the Galaxy and yet he doesn’t get mentioned anymore for national team consideration that I’ve seen. So, Parker looked good, but will he be a Besler or a Birnbaum?

      • Zimmerman got hurt right before the GC last Summer that cost him a chance at earning a spot for qualifying, Birnbaum missed about a month last year with two separate concussions and struggled for a while after the first one. Hedges had a knee injury right before Centenario and then struggled when Arena brought him in for GC.

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