Tim Parker has become nothing short of a stalwart on the Vancouver Whitecaps back line over the last three years. His play has been a major factor in the Whitecaps success in all competitions, especially advancing to their first ever CONCACAF Champions League semifinal. Everyone around Vancouver and MLS are recognizing his obvious talent, and it’s about time Parker gets his call-up for the USMNT.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 25, 2017
Tim Parker Deserving of a USMNT Call-Up
Parker has started the season in good form, and despite the lack of wins in MLS play for Vancouver, he’s done all he can top help the ‘Caps get results where they can. To prove how well he’s started, Parker is currently in the running for Player of the Month for the Whitecaps. Parker started five of six matches, including clean sheets against New York and Philadelphia, and was also named Man of the Match against Toronto FC. It’s safe to say that the results will start coming for his club if he continues this type of form throughout the season.
What Parker Would Bring to the USMNT
Despite the fact that he could be in with a chance to challenge the line-up, Parker would more than likely step in as a depth defender for the USMNT in their current set up. Players like John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez would likely be ahead of Parker on the depth chart, but the roster needs some more youth brought in on the back end, and Parker might just be what is needed.
With Tim Ream recently receiving a call-up, there’s no reason that Parker shouldn’t be getting the same call sometime very soon. This isn’t meant as a sign of disrespect to Ream, but Parker has just as much upside, with roughly five years of youth on his side in comparison to Ream.
Parker could come in and fill in as an extremely reliable depth defender alongside the likes of other young MLS defender Walker Zimmerman. It would be great for the future to have young center backs training with each other as much as possible to create chemistry for when, and if, they play next to one another for the USMNT.
In terms of playing style, Parker would fit in well with what the USMNT currently has. He’s strong in possession from the back, and is very composed on the ball. Aside from not being a liability in possession, Parker is an extremely efficient tackler. Parker is also very aware of his positioning in the back, rarely straying from where he is needed most. In the 2016 season Parker finished fourth in Major League Soccer with 155 clearances, and finished fifth in blocks with 26. Those are both very respectable numbers that speak volumes to his positional awareness and timing to get in front of the shot and cut down passing lanes.
How Parker is Doing This Year
Parker has been one of the best performers in the first month of play for Vancouver. Despite the fact that the ‘Caps haven’t been getting the results they wanted, or thought they would, defense hasn’t been the issue whatsoever. Even when playing down a man, which is when the Whitecaps have given up their five goals this season, Parker seems a composed force on the back line.
Parker has proven that last year was not a flash in the pan for him, and continuing his strong play makes a good case for a USMNT call-up. The physical presence Parker brings to the position is another characteristic of his play that needs to be noted in this conversation as well, as that seems to be an important quality the USMNT set up has valued when Bruce Arena is in charge.
If Parker Gets Called Up, When Should it Happen?
Despite the fact that the USMNT isn’t scheduled to play again until June 8th and 11th vs. Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico respectively, this would be a fantastic time to give Parker a chance. If the play continues, and it’s unlikely that it won’t, Trinidad & Tobago would be a good game to test the still young center back in a competitive match.
This match would obviously be of great importance, but going up against what is likely a much weaker opponent would be a good time for his first test for the USMNT. His physicality would suit the style of the match well, and he could show he has what it takes on the big stage to become a regular name on the call-up list for the future.
This is starting to sound like a bit of a broken record, but with the continued strong form of Parker, there should be no reason not to call him up this June. Smart money would be on the fact that he should be receiving his first appearance for the USMNT sometime in the near future.