FC Kansas City and the Seattle Reign FC have completed a blockbuster trade with the Blues sending their second leading scorer, Renae Cuellar, to the Reign in exchange for fellow Mexican National team midfielder Teresa Noyola and the exclusive negotiating rights with defender Nikki Krzysik for the 2014 season.
Cuellar, who etched her name into NWSL history by scoring the first goal ever in the league, had been a mainstay up top for the Blue until spraining her knee in a match against the Thorns on June 6th. Cuellar missed the next two matches for FCKC and was replaced in the starting XI by Erika Tymrak. After returning from her injury, Cuellar was mainly used off the bench to give the team a second half boost but those minutes continued to dwindle to a season low seven this past Sunday against the Thorns. With FCKC signing forward Tiffany Cameron last week, there seemed to be an abundance of talent up front but not enough minutes to go around.
The Reign have started to find their groove in the league with both Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe finally getting time on the pitch, but they seemed to be missing a speedster up front to help open up the field. Enter Cuellar.
“Renae is a special player that we believe is capable of delivering goals,” said Head Coach and GM Laura Harvey. “She has demonstrated that she can consistently score in this league, so for a team that has struggled getting goals throughout the season, we think she’ll be a massive addition to the squad.”
Cuellar’s breakaway speed could be considered one of the fastest in the league and combine that with Solo’s ability to start attacking plays off goal kicks, and the Reign’s offense just got a little bit scarier. Not to mention playing alongside Rapinoe and Jessica Fishlock and the Reign might make a run for one of the final playoff spots.
With Noyola, FCKC gets an experienced midfielder who appeared in eleven matches for the Reign this season starting eight.
“Teresa (Noyola) is a great player. Our game is designed to build through the midfield and she gives us another great asset in that area,” said Kansas City Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski. “I think this move is to the benefit of all parties involved.”
The Blues started the season playing a 4-5-1 until Cuellar’s injury and then moved to a 4-3-3 / 3-4-3, rotating a few players up top. Noyola could fit right in the mix and possibly take a starting spot away from Courtney Jones who has mainly been a one-half player for the club.
Although she won’t see the field in 2013 for the Blues, Krzysik will be a great addition to the back line for 2014. According to Dan Lauletta over at Equalizer Soccer, Krzysik plans to play with the Polish national team this fall and be ready for the NWSL in 2014.
The teams also swapped draft picks in the 2014 NWSL College Draft, with FCKC getting Seattle’s second round pick while the Reign pick up the Blues third rounder.