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One-on-One: Justen Glad vs. Tim Parker

These veterans are remarkably similar in many ways — but not salary

Real Salt Lake v Portland Timbers: 2021 MLS Playoffs - Western Conference Final Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

As fans of Real Salt Lake, we frequently hear Justen Glad being touted as a great example of the homegrown process which is such a part of our team’s identity. Although Glad will be turning just 25 on February 28th, he is going into his 8th season in Major League Soccer. When he takes the field at PNC Stadium on Sunday it will be his 169th appearance for the Claret and Cobalt.

Tim Parker, another center back who plays a very similar role to Glad, will also be taking the field for Houston Dynamo. Parker, who also has a February birthday and is just over 4 years older than Glad, will also be starting his 8th season in Major League Soccer. The difference being the four years Parker spent as a collegiate player at St. John’s University.

Some further comparisons:

Glad vs. Parker

Category Glad Parker
Category Glad Parker
Appearances 168 181
Minutes 14522 15771
Goals 5 4
Yellow Cards 32 22
Red Cards 1 2
Fouls/Game 1.1 0.7

Across seven MLS seasons the number of appearances and minutes played are remarkably similar. Several decisions made by prior RSL coaches to sit Glad in certain situations could readily account for the difference. Glad has slight lead in goals, but also a much larger lead in yellow cards and fouls/game which could be a result of no collegiate experience and/or lack of support from other parts of the RSL defensive cohort.

Glad vs. Parker, Passing

Category Glad Parker
Category Glad Parker
Pass Success 84.20% 77.60%
Avg Passes/Game 46.3 36.7
Key Passes/Game 0.2 0.1
Clearances/Game 3.9 4.2
Dispossessed/Game 0.2 0.1
Bad Control/Game 0.2 0.1

Justen Glad tends to contribute more passes and fewer clearances. Being in the defensive back line, he has a relatively high rate of success with his passes and also twice the number of key passes. However, Glad is no Messi and the more he plays with the ball at his feet, the more he loses it.

Glad vs. Parker, Defensive Actions

Category Glad Parker
Category Glad Parker
Tackles/Game 1.3 1
Interceptions/Game 1.4 2.2
Fouls/Game 1.1 0.7
Dribbles Past/Game 0.6 0.2

In more purely defensive statistics Glad has a lead in tackles and fouls as tends to close with opponents while Parker displays a more polished / distant approach with more interceptions of opponents’ passes and fewer fouls.

It is commonly accepted that defensive center backs take more time and experience to reach their most productive years. During the four years until he reaches Parker’s age of 29 can Glad further polish some of his weaknesses or will injury and wear show up earlier due to his earlier start?

While watching Sunday’s match keep an eye on these two defensive leaders and decide for yourself. And one final set of comparisons:

2021 Base Salary / Guaranteed Compensation

  • Glad, $600,000 / $660,031

Parker, $1,161,800 / $1,199,300

As RSL fans, would you take Glad at half the price, or do you covet Houston’s Parker?