Tim Parker
(Steve Luciano / AP Photo)

New York Red Bulls defender Tim Parker will miss his team’s game against his former club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, on Wednesday.

May 22, 2019, was probably a day New York Red Bulls defender Tim Parker was looking forward to. It’s the day his side is going against his former team, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

There’s always that extra bit of heat when you’re playing against your ex-team. Sadly, Parker won’t get to experience that feeling on Wednesday night.

Four days before New York’s game against the Whitecaps, the American defender picked up the first red card of his professional career.

The game was against Atlanta United, Parker lost the ball on top of the 18-yard box in the 35th minute. The ball rolled to Josef Martinez, who started to dart toward New York’s goal without any defenders in front of him.

Parker was left with no other options but to disrupt Martinez from shooting by fouling him. Martinez didn’t score and RBNY ended up winning the match, 1-0, but the former St. John’s University player received a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

One lost possession, one minor pull on Martinez’s arm, and now Parker can’t play against his former club. He can’t tackle his former teammates.

If it makes you feel a little better, Parker has played against Vancouver before in a Red Bulls jersey. The 26-year-old squared up against his former side on Aug. 18, 2018. New York drew with the Canadian club, 2-2.

Unfortunately, both goals RBNY conceded that day came off Parker. He allowed his former teammate Kendall Watson to score on him twice on corner kicks.

Parker had an opportunity to sort of redeem himself on Wednesday but his red card versus Atlanta took his second shot to play against Vancouver away.

The center back was emotional before going against his former team last season.

“They gave me the opportunity obviously to play professional soccer so it’s going to be nice to go back and see some old friends and old teammates,” the defender told Pro Soccer USA reporter Dylan Butler.

Parker won his first trophy with the Whitecaps, the 2015 Canadian Championship.

“That’s a big moment for me because it’s the first trophy I won as a professional,” he said. “Then, I think just growing, not only as a person, but as a player as well in Vancouver.”

The Whitecaps have changed quite a bit since Parker departed last season. Their head coach is no longer Carl Robinson—a coach the center half developed a strong relationship with during his three seasons with Vancouver. Marc Dos Santos is leading the show in Vancouver now..

Per MLS reporter Sam Stejskal, Parker requested to leave the Whitecaps because he didn’t agree with the salary the club offered him before last season started. The Long Island native’s desired salary was $504,375 per year.

According to MLS Players’ Union, Parker’s annual guaranteed salary was $99,600 in 2017 with Vancouver.

When the center back transferred to New York his annual guaranteed compensation didn’t reach to his wanted $504,375 but did grow to $115,935.

Vancouver traded Parker to New York for Felipe Martins plus Targeted Allocation Money for the beginning of last season. Oddly enough, Felipe could miss Wednesday’s matchup as well because of an injury.

However, the Brazilian did play against the Red Bulls the last time they faced the Whitecaps and had one assist.

New York is going into the game after winning four of their last five outings. Parker has played a huge role in RBNY’s recent success. He took part in all of The Metros’ MLS games so far this season.

Parker isn’t the only defender RBNY could be without in their next match. Aaron Long is questionable to play because of a hamstring problem. The team has two reliable second-choice center backs, Amro Tarek and Sean Nealis, to cover Parker and Long’s absence.

Vancouver only scored twice in their last three games, which could mean that the second-choice defenders’ task isn’t that arduous. Plus as mentioned, the team is on a hot streak, they blanked the champions, Atlanta, 1-0, on Sunday. There’s a feeling in the air that the Red Bulls are back to their form from last season.

If that feeling isn’t enough to motivate the players, they can always remind themselves that one of their teammates would love a win against his former club but isn’t able to be on the battlefield with them.

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.