Tim Parker: “Obviously Ryan always has our backs. So every time he gets out of the goal, I try to have his.” (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara and his Philadelphia Union counterpart, Andre Blake, combined to make seven saves in Saturday night’s scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena.

As it turned out, the save of the night came from someone who wasn’t wearing goalkeepers’ gloves — New York center back Tim Parker.

The former St. John’s standout headed away Marcus Epps’ close-range shot off the goal line with keeper Ryan Meara out of the net.

“Obviously Ryan always has our backs,” Parker said. “So every time he gets out of the goal, I try to have his.”

Given that the Red Bulls experienced problems solving Blake and the Philly backline, it was a game-saving play by the Hicksville, N.Y. native, even if it was so early in the match.

Head coach Jesse Marsch said that he could not remember a player making such a smooth transition during his Red Bulls regime. The Red Bulls traded for Parker, acquiring him from Vancouver Whitecaps SC just before the MLS season.

“The transition of him to our team from a mentality and tactics and style of play has been literally seamless,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a player come into this team and fit so smoothly into what we do. And that’s a lot of credit to our scouting team and our sporting team of identifying him as the type of player that we need. It’s a big credit to Tim and his excitement and anxiousness to try to come here and fit in right way and establish himself on our team.”

That was no problem to the 25-year-old Parker.

“I just fully buy in,” he said. “It’s hard to have a style where, in Vancouver, it’s such a different style and here, it’s something so new. Kind of really throwing myself completely into it, dealing with the ups and downs and the mistakes and learning from them and continuing to push forward.”

Not surprisingly, Parker has partnered well with center back Aaron Long.

“It’s growing,” he said. “It’s obviously something we’re very excited about. We’re getting the hang of playing with one another. We’re really looking forward to continue to build this partnership into something big.”

During the game, Parker’s father, Ken, who was in Aruba, tweeted that he could not get a feed of the match. So, the Red Bulls tweeted back to him some of the highlights.

“I knew he was in Aruba and he told me before the game that he was going to be able to watch it,” Parker said. “To be honest, I’m not surprised he would tweet at the Red Bulls. It could be two o’clock in the morning and he would still be asking for updates.”

Asked if his father had trouble following him when he performed for Vancouver, Parker replied, “No, no, not at all. My mom had trouble staying awake, but my dad had no problem at all.”