It's been quite the season for Tim Parker. The rookie Center Back has smashed expectations and has even gotten some quality playing time this year, despite some names ahead of him on the depth chart at the beginning of the season. Well, Parker added to his impressive campaign by scoring the only Whitecaps goal in what would be a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League play.
The Whitecaps trotted out an extremely young starting 11 for their first ever CCL match, with Head Coach Carl Robinson going with names like, Ethen Sampson, Deybi Flores, Kianz Froese and Erik Hurtado. Other players making their way into the starting 11 included Pedro Morales and Russell Teibert, two former mainstays in the starting lineup making their first starts since June.
The young guns were playing in quite the atmosphere, with almost 20,000 strong filling the stands at BC Place. The Sounders, meanwhile, played some veterans like Brad Evans, but sat stars like Clint Dempsey.
The Whitecaps would make their mark in the 61st minute, as Pedro Morales continued to be a thorn in the Sounders side. After scoring a stunning free kick goal over the weekend, Morales would make his mark with a corner this time, whipping a ball in that Tim Parker was able to get a foot on to put home.
The lead wouldn't last, as Seattle came storming back to tie things up. In the 72nd minute, Lamar Neagle scored an absolute beauty on Paolo Tornaghi, sending an Andy Rose feed high into the top right corner of the net. Tornaghi, who otherwise played effectively on the night, couldn't react in time.
That would be all in the way of scoring, as the Whitecaps now will have to wait until September for another kick at the CCL can. Though a draw is disappointing when the Whitecaps had the lead, the young guns did manage to play a heck of a game, and can hopefully improve for next time out. They were disjointed at times and sloppy at others, but considering there were so many new faces in the starting lineup, I'd say they handled themselves pretty damn well. By the way, how about this Tim Parker kid? If he keeps this up, and improves on his defensive play a bit, the Whitecaps may have a long term answer at the Center Back position.
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 27.Ethen Sampson, 26.Tim Parker, 18.Diego Rodriguez, 22.Christian Dean; 20.Deybi Flores, 31.Russell Teibert; 19.Erik Hurtado (32.Marco Bustos 77'), 77.Pedro Morales (88.Robert Earnshaw 65'), 38.Kianz Froese (3.Sam Adekugbe 70'); 11.Darren Mattocks