The Portland Timbers acquired Danny Mwanga on June 6, 2012, from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge Perlaza in a deal seen at the time -- and since -- as a rather lopsided trade. Philly would later drop Perlaza from the squad, but Mwanga stuck around Portland for the remainder of the season.
A graduate of both Jefferson High School and Oregon State University, the local boy was an immediate fan favorite, but he had a tough time cracking the starting XI after his first few weeks with the team. Mwanga ended up only starting seven times and appearing eighteen times during his stint with the Timbers.
He will be best remembered for his three goals, all scored against the San Jose Earthquakes, including a brace on September 19 in San Jose. His goal celebration dance was memorable as well -- tongue wagging, hips swaying, fingers pointing, arms ... cavorting, and ending with a sort of chin-up motion. Once his teammates figured out what the hell he was doing, they joined in as well. It was awesome.
Ultimately, though, the team had too many young strikers with loads of potential who just needed a bit more maturity and consistency to be successful. Given the chance as a midfielder as well as a striker during the preseason, Mwanga sadly wasn't able to impress his coaching staff enough to keep him, and they sent him away in exchange for a 2015 SuperDraft pick.
I'm pretty confident that someday Mwanga, with his deft footwork, size, and speed, will be a solid MLS caliber striker, but it may take some time for him to develop the vision and maturity to realize that potential.
We wish Danny all the best as he continues his career in Colorado.
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