In the 2022 player preview series, we are going to look at the current players on the Houston Dynamo roster, how they performed last season, and what we might expect from them in 2022. Here is the next in our series and check out the other players we previewed.
Position – Center back
2021 MLS Stats – 34 appearances, 34 starts
2021 Dynamo team defensive stats - 54 goals allowed, and 5 clean sheets
Tim Parker arrived at the club in January 2021 via trade from the New York Red Bulls. Houston got him in exchange for $450k in General Allocation Money (GAM) and another $600k in performance-based incentives. He became one of the most expensive defenders in the league with a yearly salary close to $1.2 million. For the Houston Dynamo he sat behind only Darwin Quintero’s $1.4 million on the salary sheet. All that talk about money just to say that, a lot of investment was made for Parker in an attempt to solidify the defense.
Parker was paired with Honduran veteran Boniek Garcia to start the season due to injuries to the defensive group. Seeing Boniek slotted in as a center back shocked everyone and even more after the team was able to beat San Jose in the home opener. Eventually, we saw Maynor Figueroa start next to Parker before the arrival of Teenage Hadebe, who took a Designated Player spot on the roster. Their partnership made Parker and Hadebe one of the most expensive center back duos in Major League Soccer.
Tim Parker played and started in all 34 regular season games, playing every single minute of each match. He was named Houston Dynamo’s Ironman of the Year for the 2021 team awards for his achievement. Tim was picked by Tab Ramos as a co-captain with Boniek Garcia. Parker’s leadership is of a quiet nature but of intimidating physical presence. Yet, in a season that saw Houston end in last place of the Western Conference allowing a total of 54 goals finishing with only 5 clean sheets in 34 matches, Tim’s game was very underwhelming. Here are his stats from fbref.com:
Since he’s a defender there is a lot of the red in the chart, especially on the top section, which can be a little misleading. However, his defensive actions from last season are much more worrying. His numbers compared to players such as Ryan Shawcross, Vito Wormgoor, and Jukka Raitala, all who were dropped from their MLS clubs and will not be returning to the league in 2022. These are clearly not the players you want the captain of the club being associated with. Funny enough, the combined salaries from all the 3 players mentioned, you would need another $170k to meet Tim Parker’s salary in 2021. It makes sense why many say he is overpaid for his services, yikes!
Parker, 29, will be under the microscope in 2022. He was given a contract extension through the 2024 season by the Dynamo’s former general manager, Matt Jordan. However, if anything has been learned from the new regime in place, it is that they won’t be afraid to move in a different direction if the goal of making the club a championship contender is not being met. Tim will need to fine tune the skill set which once made him one of the best defenders in the league playing alongside Aaron Long back in 2018.
Paulo Nagamura will need to motivate and start a fire in the belly of Parker as he is set to continue as a starting center back. It is uncertain if he will be named captain again, but either way, a lot will be asked from him in a leadership role. Fans will need to keep him accountable all season during good and bad showings. But the looming question will be if Tim Parker can improve the team having a full year next to Teenage Hadebe?