Phoenix Rising FC has re-signed midfielder Emil Cuello, who scored a pair of game-winning goals in the side's run to the 2023 USL Championship title. | Photo courtesy JJ Digos / Phoenix Rising FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Friday the club had re-signed midfielder Emil Cuello ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Cuello remains with Phoenix after playing a key role in the club’s run to the 2023 USL Championship title, scoring the game-winning goals in the side’s Western Conference Semifinal against Orange County SC and in the Western Conference Final against Sacramento Republic FC. Overall in the campaign, the 26-year-old recorded three goals and two assists in 21 appearances.
“I am very happy to be coming back to Phoenix,” said Cuello. “We are all excited to build off what we accomplished in 2023 and defend our championship. I look forward to reuniting with my teammates, the staff and the fans to do it all over again. Last season we rose, in ‘24 we fly.”
Selected with the 19th overall pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by the LA Galaxy, Cuello made 20 appearances in Major League Soccer across two seasons. He subsequently competed in the USL Championship for both San Antonio FC and Sacramento Republic FC before arriving in Phoenix last offseason.
“I am full of joy to have Emi back for the 2024 season,” said Rising FC Head Coach Juan Guerra. “He showed in playoffs that he is one of the most-talented players in this league. He adds a lot to our continuity from our championship. He understands the way we want to do things, our vision, our culture, and our identity. He will be a valuable addition as we look to protect what we were able to achieve last season.”
Emil Cuello showed his qualities for Phoenix as a substitute during the 2023 postseason, delivering big goals in key moments. Now the challenge for the Argentine who starred at SMU collegiately will be to take the next step and become a game-in and game-out contributor for the defending title holders.
Cuello has only recorded more than 1,000 minutes once in a USL Championship regular season for Sacramento Republic FC in the 2022 campaign, and while he has made 79 appearances in the league while recording nine goals and 12 assists, he has yet to become a consistent starter. Rising FC will be hoping his postseason performance is the launchpad for a career campaign in 2024.