With the departure of Jordan Stewart, the Quakes found a hole in their roster at the left fullback position. Both Shaun Francis and Kofi Sarkodie have alternated filling the void, but neither of them have shined. It’s time to give Nick Lima a chance.
On the season, both Shaun Francis and Kofi Sarkodie have struggled for consistency. Per 90 minutes, Francis averages 2.5 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 2.5 clearances, nearly zero blocked shots, 0.8 blocked passes, and nothing significant offensively for an overall 6.7 whoscored.com rating as of today. Sarkodie was a major reason for the Quakes’ 3-0 whipping by the Rapids last week, averages worse defensive numbers than Francis (one tackle, one interception, 2.3 clearances, 0.8 blocked shots, zero blocked passes per 90 minutes), and has an overall whoscored.com rating of 6.9. Lima, on the other hand, boasts a two tackles, two interceptions, 3.3 clearances, 0.8 blocked shots, 1.5 blocked passes and shines with a 7.05 whoscored.com rating. Lima also leads fullbacks in shots per game (1.3) and is the only fullback to score a goal for the Quakes this season. Both veterans are being outplayed by a rookie.
Nick Lima is no stranger to left-back. While naturally right-footed, Lima played left-back with the Burlingame Dragons, so it’s not a totally foreign position for him. Also, having Lima play inverted as a left-back allows for a more central attack as Lima can cut towards the center of the pitch and work off his right foot to generate the attack, which was a huge success against the Portland Timbers.
Lima moving to left-back would also allow Cordell Cato the opportunity to play at right-back, which would place the two fastest fullbacks on the pitch at once. The threat of speed would be a potent counter-attacking offense as both would be capable of pressing forward when needed.
Lima has proven himself to be the gift that keeps on giving for most Quakes fans, and a move to left-back could be another present waiting to be unwrapped. It also potentially cures the problem of inconsistency that could derail the team’s playoff train. #Lima2LB