FEATURE: Nick Lima among top performing MLS rookies so far in 2017

According to MLS Communications, 51 rookies are currently on MLS rosters. FC Dallas and Columbus Crew SC each have five, the most in the league, with San Jose, Real Salt Lake and the Chicago Fire next in line with four apiece.

But as always, the cream rises to the top – at least as much as it can this early into their young careers.

Quakes right back Nick Lima has burst onto the scene, with many pundits around the league choosing him as the way-too-early Rookie of the Year frontrunner. Here’s how his stats stack up against other top contenders around the league:

Player

Team

POS

GS

GP

Minutes

Goals

Assists

Nick Lima

SJ

D

7

7

630

1

0

Julian Gressel

ATL

M

6

6

467

0

1

Alex Crognale

CLB

D

5

4

377

0

1

Ian Harkes

DC

M

5

5

450

0

0

Brooks Lennon

RSL

M

5

5

450

1

0

Lima has not only been a staple on the team’s back line, which has allowed just eight goals in seven games (t-3rd fewest in the Western Conference) and kept two shutouts, but has also racked up 11 shots and a goal, while providing consistent service from the right flank. His shot total is the highest among all defenders in MLS, and equals that of attacking forces Nicolas Lodeiro, Cyle Larin, Miguel Almiron and Alejandro Bedoya.

Lima has never quite seemed out of place, despite his inexperience at the professional level. He has helped the Quakes contain dangerous attacking players, such as Ignacio Piatti, Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey, Michael Barrios and Juan Agudelo.

The Rookie of the Year race will only be won after 34 games, but it will be fun to keep up with the competition throughout the season.

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