Tim Parker Ready for Homecoming

Tim Parker is set for his debut at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night.

The newest member of the New York Red Bulls is returning to the tristate area and set to become an impact player both on the field … and perhaps on the runway.

When the Red Bulls traded star midfielder Felipe Martins two weeks ago to acquire Parker from the Vancouver Whitecaps, it was one of those rare trades that seemed to work well for both teams. Felipe is a proven ball winner and a tenacious midfielder, something that Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson prized for his Starting XI. And Parker is a United States national team caliber defender who is coming off two strong seasons in Vancouver.

Given the Red Bulls need in the center of their defense, Parker should be able to help. He’s strong in the air and a good defender in 1v1 situations. He’s also a local boy from Long Island who played his college soccer at St. John’s.

There will, however, be an acclimation for Parker, not just to a new team but to the Red Bulls playing style. Vancouver liked to hit teams on the counterattack, sitting back and welcoming the other side to have possession then moving forward with numbers. With the Red Bulls, Parker will press and counter-press as his new team looks to condense the field as much as possible.

This can expose center backs to long balls over the top or passes played right in front of the Red Bulls back four.

[Watch Red-Bulls-Real Salt Lake Saturday on MSG2 & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]

“It’s different. It’s definitely a different style they play here. I’ve talked to Jesse [Marsch] about it and he thinks my instincts as a defender can kind of play into it,” Parker said Monday.

“I’m trying to build off that and go off what they do tactically. I’m trying to get accustomed to what they do, tactic-wise, and let my instincts get the best of me.”

There’s a strong chance that Parker gets the start Tuesday night when the Red Bulls host Tijuana in the second leg of the quarterfinals in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. The Red Bulls pulled off a shock result last week, winning 2-0 in Tijuana. Parker started that game following just a single training session with the team.

TIJUANA, MEXICO – MARCH 06: Tim Parker (L) of New York Red Bulls and Miller Bolaños (R) of Tijuana compete for the ball during the quarter finals first leg match between Tijuana and New York RB at Caliente Stadium on March 06, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo by Gonzalo Gonzalez/Jam Media/Getty Images)

The Red Bulls newest addition said that incumbent center backs Aaron Long and Aurélien Collin are going over “the little scenarios” in helping him get up to speed.

Parker did not play Saturday night in the Red Bulls 4-0 win over the Portland Timbers in their opener. But he was spotted outside the team’s locker room, showing off some serious fashion chops, including a grey sports jacket and a pocket square.

There might just be a budding rivalry brewing between center backs as the aforementioned Collin is the team’s fashionista and a frequent critic of the choice in attire of his teammates.

“A lot of the guys said that to me when I showed up but I guess I’m just used to dressing up for game day,” Parker said with a laugh. “Maybe I’ll have to up my game and see what he throws at me.”

[Watch Red-Bulls-Real Salt Lake Saturday on MSG2 & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]