The Portland Timbers are bringing Jefferson High grad Danny Mwanga home. Today the Timbers completed a like for like swap as they traded Jorge Perlaza for the Philadelphia Union's Danny Mwanga in a move that both teams hope will help turn around their respective seasons.
Mwanga has been an outcast from Piotr Nowak's locker room as rumors of butting heads between the Union's boss and first ever MLS draft pick have swirled for the last year. While Mwanga may have had some issues with his coach, he did show his talent on the field when given an opportunity, scoring 12 goals in 63 appearances over the last three seasons, all before turning 21.
A speedy and powerful striker, Mwanga should complement a consummate goal poacher like Kris Boyd well if given the opportunity to play alongside him. Mwanga's movement and creativity on the ball are excellent and should mesh well with players like Darlington Nagbe and Kalif Alhassan.
Mwanga has long been looked at by Portland as a possible acquisition and it looks like they finally pulled the trigger.
The Timbers' press release is after the jump.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have acquired forward Danny Mwanga from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for forward Jorge Perlaza, it was announced today. Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson made the announcement.
Mwanga, 20, made 63 appearances (37 starts) over his first three MLS seasons with Philadelphia, recording 12 goals and nine assists. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Mwanga was a collegiate standout at Oregon State University and played prep soccer at Portland’s Jefferson High School.
"Danny is a mature, young player who has shown that he can be productive in this league during his time with Philadelphia," said John Spencer, Timbers head coach. "He has roots in Portland, his family still lives here, and we look forward to getting him integrated into the team quickly."
Mwanga, born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, ranked among Philadelphia’s scoring leaders following his first two seasons with the club in 2010 and 2011. Last season, he scored five goals and finished second on the team with four assists, helping the Union make their first MLS playoff appearance. As a member of Generation adidas, Mwanga tallied seven goals and was one of three finalists for MLS Rookie of the Year in 2010.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for me to come back to my hometown and play in front of family and friends," said Mwanga. "I’m excited, and I can’t wait to get out to Portland and get to work. I’m proud to be a member of the Portland Timbers."
Following the 2011 campaign, Mwanga headlined an 18-player roster participating in a Generation adidas tour of the Netherlands. He was also named No. 9 on MLSsoccer.com’s 24-Under-24 list in 2011.
Mwanga had a productive collegiate career at Oregon State University, where he was awarded the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2008 and the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. As a sophomore, he scored a conference-best 14 goals, including five game-winners, becoming the first OSU player to earn conference player of the year honors. Mwanga was a NSCAA second team All-American and a finalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy in 2009. In total, Mwanga recorded 18 goals in 29 collegiate games.
He starred at Jefferson High School in North Portland and played club soccer at adidas Timbers Alliance club Westside Timbers as a youth.
Perlaza, 27, made 41 appearances (32 starts) over two seasons with the Timbers, scoring six goals and adding two assists. He was signed by the Timbers on March 7, 2011, after playing the first nine seasons of his career in Colombia.
"Jorge has been nothing but first class for this organization, a quality person both on and off the field. We wish him all the best," said Spencer.
Born: July 17, 1991, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Last Club: Philadelphia Union
College: Oregon State University
Citizenship: D.R. Congo