Simply put, Renae Cuellar had lost her spot on the FC Kansas City first team and so the club was inclined to explore options to improve the side ahead of the final push to the finish. That is what led to Monday’s trade sending Cuellar to Seattle for Teresa Noyola, along with swapping 2014 draft picks.
“We just wanted to help out Renae because it didn’t seem like after the first few games that this was the right fit for her,” Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “So at the end now that everything is over and done I feel like this is good for everybody involved.”
Cuellar turned heads in Kansas City by scoring the first NWSL goal three minutes into its existence and then scoring in the next two Blues matches. In all she scored five times but started only once after being injured on June 6 in Portland.
“It’s not the system itself, it’s more the style that we’re trying to play — she just didn’t fit as well as some of the players that did a better job after we put them on the field,” Andonovski added. “She just lost her spot on the team. It’s as simple as that.”
In place of Cuellar, FC Kansas City acquired Teresa Noyola, a MAC Hermann Trophy winner at Stanford who was scuffling in the Reign’s punchless attack. In the Midwest she will have to earn her way onto the field but figures to be better as a piece of an attacking system that is further along than the one in Seattle.
“Just the fact that she was the Hermann Trophy winner two years ago I think says a lot for her,” Noyola’s new coach said. “I think the way that we play fits her very well and I can’t wait to get her in Kansas City. The style that she enjoys playing, it’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
The right-sided midfield position seems like one up for grabs after Courtney Jones made early exits in the last two matches. But Andonovski stopped short of suggesting Noyola would land there, saying that all positions remain up for grabs and opting for a wait-and-see approach with Noyola.
“Where exactly she’s going to fit I can’t tell you until I talk to her and we see her in practice.”
As of Monday afternoon the team and Noyola were still working out whether to have her meet the team in Kansas City or head directly to Maryland, where the Blues play Wednesday night against the Washington Spirit. Andonovski said it is unlikely she will play but is hopeful Noyola will be available Sunday at home against the Flash. There will be a key spot open on the field with Lauren Cheney missing both of this week’s contests to get married.
Andonovski is also high on the draft pick swap that saw the Blues acquire Seattle’s second round pick next season in exchange for their third. As the teams stand now—and assuming no expansion—that would allow FCKC to pick 5th, 10th, and 13th while shipping the 21st selection to the Pacific Northwest.
“We know that draft is going to be loaded with good players next year and we’re going to have three picks of the first 16 players.”
The true wild card here is Nikki Krzysik, whose rights were acquired by Kansas City. Krzysik is getting married this month and elected to play in WPSL near her husband, NFL tight end John Phillips, who signed with the San Diego Chargers earlier this season. The club spoke to Krzysik, who affirmed to them her intention of playing in NWSL next season. The Blues will retain her rights, meaning they can bring her into camp or trade her elsewhere.
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