When the Earthquakes signed homegrown defender Nick Lima in December, fans knew they had a gem. In fact, one fan predicted that Lima would be starting by July! And after a solid preseason in which the rookie looked like a seasoned vet, Lima appears poised to be in the starting XI on Saturday when the Quakes host the Montreal Impact.
Lima has proven himself to be every bit the attack-oriented fullback that fans expected. During games against Reno and Sacramento, a majority of the Quakes attack came from the right side with Lima and Tommy Thompson generating quality scoring chances, and giving Tommy great preseason numbers.
Just as important, Lima has proven himself to be a stout defender as the Quakes have not yielded more than one goal in a game all preseason. A rookie fullback that can attack as well as defend, all at a bargain/homegrown price? It’s almost too good to be true.
The hapless drawback to Lima’s success is that he is replacing regular right-back Marvell Wynne, who is out indefinitely while having a potential heart condition evaluated.
When asked if Lima was the front-runner to replace Wynne, head coach Dom Kinnear would not commit to revealing that information, saying “it’s too early to tell.” Instead, Kinnear has let Lima make the most of his minutes alongside regular starters such as Victor Bernardez, David Bingham, Simon Dawkins, and Chris Wondolowski; don’t be surprised if/when you see Lima starting against Montreal.
With all the new players coming into San Jose from around the world, Nick Lima is a pleasant reminder of the potential harvest of quality Bay Area players Quakes fans can expect in the coming years. I’m excited to see Nick play his first regular season game and hopefully many more with the Earthquakes.