It appears that Danny Mwanga is quite the focus of today's Portland Timbers news headlines as the club has officially announced that they've resigned him to a new contract. Those who were with us throughout the 2012 season will remember that the Timbers traded Jorge Perlaza to the Philadelphia Union over the summer in exchange for Mwanga. It was largely considered to be a great trade for Portland.
Despite all that, however, Mwanga's recent MLS career has faded somewhat sine originally signing a GA contract in 2010. Luckily he's still fairly young so it's not like his best days are behind him. Hopefully 2013 sees a renewed form for him and he's able to contribute much more for the green and white.
On that note, while the official press release mentions that the terms of the agreement will not be disclosed, a source tells us that Mwanga was expected to get a sharp pay increase between 2012-2013. This could have lead to the longer-than-expected negotiations between the two sides as Mwanga's performance certainly didn't warrant the kind of pay increase that was to be expected. My hunch is that the current deal brings him under the $200,000 level, thugh I suppose we'll have to wait until the MLS Players Union releases the new figures sometime next year.
Here's the full press release:
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has signed forward Danny Mwanga to a new contract. Mwanga, a standout at Portland’s Jefferson High School and Oregon State University, returns for a second season in Portland in 2013. Per league and club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Mwanga, 21, played in 18 matches for the Timbers last season, scoring three goals after joining the club in a trade with the Philadelphia Union on June 6, 2012. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Mwanga has recorded 15 goals and nine assists in 79 regular-season matches over four MLS seasons.
"It is very exciting to come back and continue to play in my hometown with the Timbers, and I am grateful to be able to play in front of such a great group of fans that have supported me through high school, college, and now, my professional career," said Mwanga. "After joining the Timbers midseason last year, I am very much looking forward to coming back and really stepping up with a full season ahead of me under Caleb Porter."
Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mwanga made his Timbers debut June 17, 2012. He scored all three goals last season against 2012 MLS Supporters’ Shield winners San Jose, including his second career brace in a 2-2 road draw on Sept. 19. In total, Mwanga played in 27 games between Portland and Philadelphia, registering three goals and one assist during the 2012 campaign.
"We are pleased to re-sign Danny and have him back in his hometown for another season," said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. "He has shown what he can do in MLS and is a quality piece for the club going into the 2013 season."
Mwanga ranked among Philadelphia’s scoring leaders in each of his first two seasons with the club in 2010 and 2011. He scored five goals and finished second on the team with four assists in 2011, helping the Union earn their first MLS Cup playoff berth. Mwanga was named a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, tallying seven goals during his first professional campaign. He was listed at No. 9 on MLSsoccer.com’s 24-Under-24 rankings in 2011.
At Oregon State, Mwanga recorded 18 goals in 29 matches during his standout collegiate career. 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 in 2009, Mwanga scored a conference-best 14 goals, becoming Oregon State’s first player to earn conference player of the year honors. He also garnered NSCAA second-team All-America honors and was a finalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy in 2009.
Mwanga starred at Jefferson High School in Portland and played club soccer at adidas Timbers Alliance club Westside Timbers as a youth.