Even though things are looking better for the Reign these days — with an active three game unbeaten streak and a position off the bottom of the standings for the first time since early in the season — Laura Harvey isn't done making changes. Today the team announced the biggest trade in the short history of the NWSL when they sent midfielder Teresa Noyola, the rights to defender Nikki Krzysik, and next year's second round pick to FC Kansas City in exchange for forward Renae Cuéllar and their third round pick. And they also announced that they'd traded forward Lindsay Taylor and a conditional 4th round pick to the Washington Spirit for their second round pick. So if you assume the 2nd round pick trades are effectively a wash, this is essentially a trade of Noyola and Taylor for Cuéllar.
Noyola is a talented player, but the team is very deep at midfield, especially with the return of Megan Rapinoe, and they're still struggling to find a dangerous option at center forward. Since we learned Amy Rodriguez would be out the whole season, the team has tried many options to fill that gap. But neither Tiffany Cameron nor Taylor has shown what Harvey's looking for and now neither is on the team. Kennya Cordner joined the team from the reserves, but so far it looks like she's more suited to playing on the wing. Last weekend the team played midfielder Jess Fishlock at center forward, and while she ended up scoring the game-winner that's not the best use of her abilities long term.
So after picking up Jessica McDonald off of waivers from Chicago they now add Cuéllar, who has the distinction of scoring the first ever NWSL goal. She was a significant contributor to KC early in the season, but it's looked like she's been out of favor recently, with just 60 minutes as a substitute in their last three matches. Still, with 5 goals on the year she immediately becomes the team's most established forward threat and if she stays healthy can at least stabilize a position that's been a massive vacuum all season long.
She joins McDonald and Stephanie Cox as players we expect to join the team soon, but it's not clear if all or any will be available for this Wednesday's home match against Boston.