Reign make two trades, land Cuellar for Noyola

Dan Lauletta July 1, 2013 64

Teresa Noyola (right) won a championship at Stanford and gets closer to NWSL playoff with trade to Kansas City

Seattle Reign FC continued their in-season retooling by acquiring Renae Cuellar from FC Kansas City in exchange for former Hermann Trophy winner Teresa Noyola.  The Equalizer confirmed the deal on Monday afternoon.  The biggest trade in NWSL to date also includes the Reign shipping Nikki Krzysik’s rights to Kansas City.  The teams also exchanged draft picks with Kansas City getting a 2014 2nd rounder and Seattle a 3rd rounder also in 2014.  Cuellar and Noyola were both allocated by the Federation of Mexican Football (FMF).

In a separate trade the Reign sent Lindsay Taylor and a conditional 4th round pick to Washington in exchange for the Spirit’s 2nd round pick.

Cuellar will give the Reign a dangerous target player to connect with Megan Rapinoe.  The Mexican-American scored five goals for FC Kansas City but recently lost her starting spot to Melissa Henderson.  The first of those goals came three minutes into the opening NWSL match against the Portland Thorns.  Cuellar, 23, appeared in 11 matches, starting eight.  She missed two games after spraining her knee and ankle after being tackled by Rachel Buehler.

Noyola, 23, also started in eight of 11 appearances.  The 2011 MAC Hermann winner had one goal and one assist as part of what has sometimes been a muddled attack for the Reign.  She could find herself in the right midfield slot for Kansas City, which has recently been occupied by Courtney Jones and Merritt Mathias.  Jones has started the last five games but has not made it to the second half in the last two.  Last Wednesday she was pulled after 41 minutes and Sunday she came off late in the first half due to dehydration and was replaced by Mathias after the break.

Krzysik was taken by the Reign with the 2nd overall pick in the Supplemental Draft but elected not to take a contract and instead play for the San Diego Sea Lions.  The Equalizer has learned that Krzysik has not changed her mind about playing in NWSL this season.  The former Red Stars and Philadelphia Independence defender is scheduled to be capped by the Polish national team this fall and enter NWSL in 2014.  The Blues will retain her rights for the 2014 season.  Krzysik is getting married to San Diego Chargers tight end John Phillips before NFL training camp starts later this month.

Taylor, also 23, made six appearances for the Reign and scored one goal, against her new team the Spirit.  To make room for her, Washington waived Domenica Hodak, who had appeared in all 11 matches.

  • snishy

    Hmmm, this is very interesting. Seems like Seattle gets the short term benefits here and KC gets the long term. Cuellar won’t have any problems fitting into Seattle’s offense, as they desperately need a down and out striker. Do they even have one other than Cordner? It is intriguing that KC decided to let her go. She is a one dimensional forward, but it works for her. I guess they favor Henderson as the lone striker and Cheney as a midfielder/forward hybrid. Getting the rights to Krzysik seems a little weird considering she has no interest to play in the NWSL. Switching their draft order may not end well for Seattle. Next year’s draft class is going to be insane and most, if not all, of the top prospects will be scooped up in the first two rounds. Good on the Reign though for helping their offense; things are finally shaping up for them. I am concerned that Noyola might not be a starter or find her place on KC’s team. She didn’t seem to really have brilliant moments in Seattle; nothing stood out about her performance. When factoring in KC’s already good, consistent, and deep player selection, it’s hard to not wonder what her role will be.

    • hercircumstance

      It is a good swap for both teams. Seattle is already full of young players who are good and just need more development. The second round draft pick would add to the youth, but what Seattle needs next year is a good allocation. Senior players. With Rapinoe, Arod, and Winters all up the air next year that is the more interesting “draft” for them. The youth on the team is set IMO.

      • snishy

        You’re right. I just think that it wouldn’t have hurt if they managed to get a “star” college player. The chances of that happening are very slim, which is unfortunate.The allocation process will be a mess next year; players not happy where they are, playing abroad, etc. Yikes.

        • Steglitz49

          To be able to play abroad requires someone not just wanting you but having the finances to hire your services. Most, though not all, of the ladies’ leagues in Europe impose a limit on the number non-EU players per team, and their finances are not great except for a fortunate few.

          • snishy

            Yeah, but Heath and Rapinoe appear to be going back to France. Then we have Engen, Press, Averbuch, maybe even Amber Brooks. The whole thing is up in the air. If people thought this season’s allocation was a problem, it looks like next year’s could be the same since it is unclear what the aforementioned players want to do for next year, not to mention all the other allocated players from all 3 countries with their respective teams.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Heath, Rapinoe, Brooks and Engen all play for exceedingly wealthy clubs. Press plays for a comfortably well off club and Averbuch’s team is supported by the owners of a small soft-drinks and brewery company (Kopparberg) so they are solvent though not rich.

            Of those listed, Tobin, Pinoe and Christen play for teams who are qualified for the CL. Amber Brooks is much loved by the Bayern leadership and if they can grab either the #1 or 2 spot, they will go to the CL (they missed by 3 measly points this past season).

          • snishy

            Gotcha, makes sense. I was just referring to the players who decide to play a half season of the NWSL again. Some people feel that their salaries should reflect their playing time. Others feel that it is a little unfair that they can just jump into this league. All valid points. I’m eager to see how it plays out.

          • Boston Red

            Strictly a guess by me — potential allocated players will be given a decision point. If you go overseas, great, tell us by a certain time. You won’t be able to be allocated and play overseas (at least during the NWSL season). Any part-year players will be assigned by a separate process & may have part of their salary picked up by the feds.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. One of the reason so many Nadeshiko ply their trade abroad is that the JFA encourage them. They do not play in Japan in their off-season.

            (The JFA even arranges Japanese sponsors who pay part of their salaries, so they do not cost their foreign clubs so much, though in the usual time-honored fashion many decline the support and take only what the club pays them.)

            It seems that the Japanese thrive in Germany while almost all who have gone to French clubs have found the going tough, but there are Japanese ladies all over the place.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. One of the reason so many Nadeshiko ply their trade abroad is that the JFA encourage them. They do not play in Japan in their off-season.

            (The JFA even arranges Japanese sponsors who pay part of their salaries, so they do not cost their foreign clubs so much, though in the usual time-honored fashion many decline the support and take only what the club pays them.)

            It seems that the Japanese thrive in Germany while almost all who have gone to French clubs have found the going tough, but there are Japanese ladies all over the place.

          • Steglitz49

            Point taken. I think the NWSL should cut Ms Rapinoe and Heath lose. They must chose whom they want to serve.

            I may have missed it but has Amber Brooks actually played for Portland in a real game?

            USA women’s soccer is like Brazilian or German men’s. Even world top players do not get a look-in. Among the women USA is an exception, though Germany are almost at that level also.

          • snishy

            Brooks hasn’t played a game and I don’t think she will. However, Portland has her rights in the NWSL, not that it means much now.

      • romel dias

        We have something similar with the IPL cricket league here in India…but Im not a fan….i still prefer the old age teams, where teams get made…players achieve for clubs they are passionate about and legends are created…why does this shunting need to take place? I love that Pinoe, Hope and Fishlock are part of the team…will they be the team next year?

        • hercircumstance

          Team building was unnatural to start the league. Only 4 true free agents out of all players. The fact teams need to make adjustments shouldn’t be a surprise. Four teams had major problems out of the gate.

          • romel dias

            For sure…but are they gonna be shuffling most players on a team before the start of the season? Its very confusing for fans as well as the players…its not like the franchises have any real standing…so why would a fan continue supporting a Reign team without Solo for example? Doesn’t make sense….

    • Ron Bishop

      Henderson has more versatility on the pitch. She drops easily back to the midfield, has great footwork, and teams well with Cheney and Tymrak. Moves laterally well.

      Cueller is fast, but seems to only think “FORWARD!”

      Jones has seemed unsure of herself on the pitch and lacking stamina recently.

      • Slicey

        I agree. I like Henderson and she does seem to mesh well with KC’s style. Renee doesn’t have that same passing style, but strikers are on the pitch to score. I’d rather have a forward who keeps the ball and frequently beats the defenders and usually scores in 1v1 situations than one who shares a lot and works well on the side.

        I don’t care if Cuéllar only scores from one spot on the pitch. The point is that she DOES score. Henderson has played half as many minutes as Cuéllar, but has 1/4 as many shots on goal and has ZERO goals.

        Agree with you about Jones. Would have happily traded her.

    • kernel_thai

      I agree. If KC can get Krzysik to play (perhaps a similar deal to Loyds) and the number 10 or 11 pick, then they did very well and Noyola is just a bonus. It’s not like they r pulling Cuellar out of the starting line-up to do this deal. As for Seattle, they have Rapinoe and Nairn to spring Cuellar on those runs. For Seattle to get the most from this deal they need to get some wins and reduce the value of the 2nd rounder they gave up. BTW, if there is an award for front office, KC wins it hands down.

  • heremerawr

    Good luck to Cuellar. Here’s hoping she helps Seattle continue to turn their season around.

    • romel dias

      LH has pulled off a small coup here…

    • romel dias

      though the one person to really suffer will be Noyola..tough v tough call for her.

  • Slicey

    I don’t get this. Cuellar is a better forward than Jones or Henderson – she has actually put points on the board. She might be “one-dimensional” in the way that she gets those points, but she’s fast and in 1v1 situations very likely to score. Her success so far speaks for itself and I would take that any day over a “multi-dimensional” forward who hasn’t proven she can actually score.

    And KS already has a slew of talented mids – why do we need another one? At any given time we have 2+ good midfielders already warming the bench. This feels like KC just giving points to Seattle. Cuéllar is one of the top goal scorers in the NWSL and she’s been sitting on the bench the past few games. KC fans don’t like Jones and the murmurs from the stands wonder why the hell Jones is on the pitch and not the 2nd-highest FCKC goal scorer.

    • romel dias

      Its probably something or someone that rubbed off the wrong way…no other explanation to agree giving away one of the top scorers in the league!!

    • heremerawr

      Yeah, I know there have been people on here praising Henderson, but I don’t really get it either. Cuellar can put the ball in the back of the net and that’s really all I care about where my forwards are concerned. Plus she’s young and could very easily improve her game through time and experience. But eh, KC has a Cheney, and apparently that’s all they really need haha. But why don’t people like Jones? She’s seemed okay to me.

      • Slicey

        I thought Henderson made a good showing on Sunday while Jones was abysmal. She ended up coming off early with dehydration/heat stroke or something, but fans in the stands were wishing her off the pitch way before then. She wasn’t running down balls and seems to lack the urgency and speed that Cuéllar shows.

        I understood Cuéllar not starting with versus Rampone (due to Cuéllar’s straight-down-the-center scoring attack), but haven’t understood her not starting otherwise. I don’t get Jones over Cuéllar, who has scored 5x as often.

        I agree with you about Forwards. The only thing that matters to me is how often they score, not the means in which they do so. Without her 5 goals, KC wouldn’t be in the spot they are currently in. And trading her for a midfielder isn’t going to get us more points on the board.

        • heremerawr

          Kansas City is literally overflowing with midfielders at this point. Cheney of course has played as a forward in the past, but it’s doubtful she’ll be moved again at this stage, especially given her current run of form. That leaves Henderson and the Canadian whose name escapes me at the moment as forwards for the blues. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come back to bite them later on.

          • Rocket

            I think that you are forgetting that KC just picked up a forward right before this trade in Cameron. Tiffany Cameron is very similar to Cueller in that she is very fast and likes to go down the middle. While she hasn’t been very successful yet, she had a great collegiate career and could be viewed as a similar asset to Cueller without the price of allocation. Noyola could be seen as a replacement for Loyd who has seemingly disappeared in the middle of the season. I think that this trade makes sense for both parties, and as KC is looking long-term, the acquiring of Nikki and an early pick in a loaded draft just seems smart.

          • heremerawr

            I didn’t forget Cameron, I just couldn’t remember her name. Cameron could do well, but then again maybe she won’t, whereas Cuellar was consistently scoring and doing well and was a known quantity. Not only that, but Cameron has to be paid through the salary cap, while Cuellar was basically a free talented striker for the club, exchanged for… Another midfielder. But eh, Henderson is good so hopefully this trade won’t cause them to drop points, especially with Cheney out for several games.

  • Anton

    I’m down with this deal. Noyola was fairly inconsistent for us and with Rapinoe here, playing time on the wing was going to diminish. Cuellar gives us a very good option up top for Rapinoe, Fishlock, Nairn and Winters to connect with.

    Also, good for Krzysik for getting capped at the international level.

    • Boston Red

      That’s 2 outbound former US U-23s so far this summer. Can we start charging a transfer fee?

      • Anton

        We should. Then the money can go towards any future fine by Harvey.

        I can see why people had a problem with Quon going to Canada, but they should have zero issue with this one. She was never going to make the WNT, especially by not playing in the top flight league, why not pounce at an opportunity to help a country qualify for a World Cup?

        This is just like the German-Americans choosing the MNT, good players who aren’t good enough for Germany, but good enough for the USA. Why not join?

        • Boston Red

          I enjoy it. Adds an additional point of interest to an otherwise neutral competition. We are the Brazil of women’s football.

          • Steglitz49

            In the sense that Brazil last won the WC in 2002?

      • Steglitz49

        Humour me, please. I know about Ms Quon but who is the other lady? A number of American lasses of Philippine extraction have chosen to play for the Philippines but I assume you are referring to someone else.

        • Boston Red

          Nikki Krzysik — currently playing in the WPSL. She played for the US in a U19 & U20 WC and has a handful of appearances for the U23s. She will be playing for Poland in the Fall (according to the article above).

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for keeping me right. (Like some refs I may need to go and see the optician.)

            If the young lady can help ladies soccer grow in Poland, more power to her elbow. A pair of Czech twins play for one of the Swedish teams this season, so there is some ladies football in the former Eastern block, never to forget Potsdam who are again being managed by the chap who coached them when they started in the DDR.

          • Boston Red

            The US has always been a decent provider to the women’s game (even excluding those who go to college in the US). I think about 1/2 the teams at the Olympics had one or more US-eligible player.

          • Steglitz49

            More power to their united elbows! Grow the game.

            Fans, not least Americans, take for granted what USA has done for women’s soccer world wide. It is an enormous contribution and the state of the ladies’ game would not be where it is today had it not been for America.

            It is early days still, but I really hope that the NWSL will knuckle down and run women’s soccer in the time-honored fashion. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • STT

    Gah! I can’t follow this midseason musical chairs with the rosters! @_@

    • Steglitz49

      I think that is Sol’s point.

      • STT

        No, sol’s saying its unprofessional. I’m just saying its a LOT of changes in a short time. All American sports have midseason transfers, not even necessarily in a given window; (I remember Athletica was good with trading when necessary throughout their 2009 season, for example;) just having so many in such a short time in a relatively small league is dizzying.

        • Steglitz49

          I think it reflects the high quality of ladies’ soccer in USA. Almost any trade or exchange is noteworthy. Also, the inability of going out on the open market and simply buying a player, leads to a lot of exchanges.

          In Sweden, about the only trade last season that was noted was Christen Press at the last moment jumping ship and leaving Gbg and going to Tyresö partly because the way it happened. Also, the decisions of some of the juniors were noted, as was Sofia Jakobsson leaving Moscow for Chelsea. Sol knows the German scene and the Commander the French. (Funny, I have not seen the Commander commenting of late. Does anyone know what the storry is?)

      • romel dias

        no Sole point is that the league is a joke…the rest is just plain gas

  • wosofan

    What a poor move for FCKC, at least in the near term. Noyola is not a two-way runner. She cannot play effectively on the touchline or the perimeter. She cannot beat any outside back in this league, and she’d not going to get crosses into the box. So if they envision her taking Jones’ spot, they are dead wrong about that. Noyola’s best position is attacking center mid, and FCKC is loaded there — Tymrak, Cheney, Farrelly, and Mewis. I will confess that FCKC did well to land Seattle’s 2014 second round pick, since that pick will likely be an early second round pick (like 10th, 11th, or 12th, overall). Also if Krzysik comes through in 2014, then the trade may look much better, but who knows where she’ll be next year.

    Also, Lindsay Taylor is going to do nothing to help the Spirit. She’s not physical or good enough at keeping possession. And given that the Spirit’s 2nd Round pick in 2014 is going to be the 9th Overall Pick, that is really way too much to give up for Lindsay Taylor. And why they waived Hodak is a mystery. This is a player who has contributed every time she’s played. Why not waive Chapman or Toulouse?

  • kernel_thai

    Im having a really hard time understanding the Washington-Seattle trade. Seattle is the most goal starved team in the league. If Taylor couldnt find a scoring role for them why would anyone in Washington think she would score there. Washington’s 2nd round pick (likely #9) could very well equal a starter for either the Spirit or the Reign.

    Generally the type of deal u might see is a valuable pick like the Washington #2 go for a non starter on a contender like the KC/Seattle deal. There the logic was Cuellar was a good player giving them 10 minutes off the bench. Washington got a player who wasnt playing for another bottom dweller. It boggles my mind.

  • Forgedias

    This is an excellent move by Kansas City and helps Renae Cuellar find a new home for herself. It became quite obvious that with Cuellar on the pitch, all the offense tried to go through Cuellar, either she beat the backline and score or she was held off, there was no build up in the attacking third for Kansas City.

    As soon as Cuellar was injured the run of play for Kansas City changed dramatically. From one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, Kansas City started scoring a lot more goals and this was because the midfield became more involved. People can state that Lauren Cheney started scoring more, but I would say that Melissa Henderson changed how Kansas City played. They became a much more possession attacking team and Henderson unlike Cuellar was able to hold onto the ball and allow the KC midfield to join the play and attack the 18 yard box which we normally do not see with Cuellar on the pitch. The last game against Portland is a good example, Henderson was able to hold the ball up, and drag two defenders to her and then spring Courtney Jones on the right flank who was completely open for a very good shot on goal that Leblanc had to make a tip save. Cuellar can’t do this, she doesn’t have the technical skills to ball handle like this.

    Henderson brings a totally different play style upfront and with Kansas City because they play with one forward, the 4-5-1 formation, they need a forward that can hold onto the ball and bring their midfield forward on the attack. Cuellar just doesn’t do that. For Cuellar now being in the Seattle system where they use a 4-3-3 formation, she has room to grow and be a very useful player there, she doesn’t have the sole responsibility to be the target forward, she can play wing and be very effective there. Both teams win out here in my opinion.
    Oh and the criticism to Henderson not scoring. She has wonderful vision and through out her career, she hasn’t necessary been a ball hawker. She will score if she has the chance, or she will pass and play make instead, she doesn’t try to force shots that aren’t there. Which I really like. Can she be more selfish, sure, but I think overall she is what Kansas City needs. A lone forward that can hold the ball up and get her midfield into run of play.

  • tlhazz

    Hopefully getting Cuellar will keep Bogus on the bench or get her waived.

  • lovesoccer

    Bad move for KC and good for Seattle…As for cuellar being one dimensional that is out right wrong because if any of you would check out practice she is the best player on that team with the ball at her feet including Tymrak, hernderson, jones and Cheney and can beat people 1v1 9 out of ten times. Henderson has no clue she just runs out of the way of Cheney. Lucky for KC Cheney has being scoring because other than her they have no offense. When you trade the number 2 scorer on the team and the person who is in her place has zero goals something is wrong with the coaching. KC will have a big test on there hands with no Cheney the next couple of games. Let’s see if the woman who took Renaes spot for some unapperant reason than the coach being a jerk can score goals….I doubt it. but time will tell.

  • snishy

    Dude, what are you even talking about?

  • heremerawr

    Then how are you posting? And really, you’ve been asking for it with your constant repetitive and negative comments that are almost completely devoid of anything constructive.

  • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

    It wasn’t a transfer. It was a trade.

    This is America and our sports work different. No regulation. Championships have to be fought for the entire season and earned at the end in a playoff system. We don’t have a transfer system.

    Frankly as long as we have the biggest system of valuable players we can break a ton of rules. MLS from what I understand hates the transfer window and bends only as much as they must.

    Regardless most US sport leagues have trade deadlines. Not sure if the NWSL does.

  • Anton

    ‘Murica.

  • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

    A) You clearly are not a US citizen – You are not entitled to the rights provided by our constitution

    B) Freedom of speech is not provided in private spaces – Which this is

  • Boston Red

    Last time I checked, the 1st Amendment only applied to government action. Since neither the CIA nor the NSA operates Equalizer, they can do whatever they want about obnoxious commenters.

  • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

    Rosters are locked in on July 31.

  • Steglitz49

    FIFA and all the other FAs allow quite some leeway within a given association, though there are a number of conventions and unwritten rules that are usually adhered to. Once you enter into international competitions, including events like the Champions League (female as well as male) certain principles become absolute.

    Soccer is the world’s game. It is cheap to play. Probably only cricket gets close in number of people who play and watch the game. Although both originate in England, cricket became the game of the Empire while soccer grew everywhere else — on the continent of Europe and in South America — except in USA.

  • kernel_thai

    July 31 is the deadline

  • Steglitz49

    Your point that “we can break a ton of rules” is against the spirit of the beautiful game. Soccer belongs to the world. There is quite a lot of leeway for the various national FAs in how they run their local shows, but for international matches, including at club level such as the Champions and Europa leagues, it is all standardized.

    The NWSL has some of the world’s very best players in it. There is no reason why the NWSL should not operate like the German, Japanese or any other league of the top lady footballing nations.

    The one area I would like to see experimentation is in reducing the number of serious, not least ACL, injuries. If a new way of playing the game can be developed that helps in that department, then FIFA should be lobbied to tweak the laws for the ladies for safety reasons. Till then, we have to whip the coaches to whip their charges to do that 15′ exercise-program that seems to protect (a bit).

  • Boston Red

    Then you might want to do a better job of hiding.

  • ctsmith73

    Did the joke league steal your milk money?

  • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

    The NWSL needs to do what is best for them at this point. Maybe in 5 years if they are still around they can use the same transfer system. At this point though teams need the chance to create as much quality at the team/league level as possible. Obviously that probably isn’t going to happen the first year with 8 new teams, with half having no previous history.

  • Steglitz49

    I have not read anywhere that FIFA or CONCACAF have criticized how NWSL are running their league.

    On the contrary, everything emanating from FIFA since Saki Kumagai slammed the last nail into the coffin 2 years ago, can be interpreted that FIFA has bent over backwards to get a pro-soccer league going again in USA. This is not only an excellent strategic move by FIFA but absolutely vital for the ladies’ game to flourish. It shows that FIFA are on the ball.

    Nevertheless, the NWSL ought not to stretch the envelope idly but instead work as much as possible within the time-honored frame-works of the game.

  • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

    Who is making a bigger change?

    FIFA with their goal line technology

    Or

    The NWSL with a different trade/transfer system

    ;)

  • Steglitz49

    I am not sure that I follow you. FIFA is the world’s governing body of soccer, like the MCC used to be for cricket before the ICC was set up 20 years ago. The NWSL, on the other hand, sorts under US Soccer (+ maybe also the FAs of Mexico & Canada), who sort under CONCACAF, which in its turn reports to the gnomes of Zürich in FIFA. In short, FIFA rules the waves but allow individual associations to waive the rules within reason, to modify an old oneliner.

    As regards goal-line technology, FIFA’s hand has been forced not least by the goal that wasn’t in South-Africa 3 years ago. A year ago Klose told the ref that a goal he had been awarded had come off his hand. The referee, therefore, changed his ruling and Klose became immortal. Meanwhile, who (apart from soccer nerds) remembers the name of the German goalie who did not put up his hand in WC-10? By their fruit ye shall know them. If all played like Klose, the game would not need these artificial distractions.

    Following the penalty-debacle in the French cup semifinal this year, the next likely step is that “coach’s challenge” will be introduced. Brrr!