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Timbers trade Mwanga to Rapids for 2015 1st-round pick


When Danny Mwanga signed a new deal with the Portland Timbers back in December, many thought he was being considered an integral part of the club’s future.

So much for that.

Danny Mwanga’s time with the Timbers came to a close on Thursday, as Portland dealt him to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, given that Mwanga had joined the Timbers via a trade from the Philadelphia Union last summer before signing a new deal to stay in the Rose City, his hometown, on Dec. 11.

“Danny was with the Timbers for a short time, but we appreciate his contributions to the club,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson in a statement released by the club. “With Danny being from Portland and having been developed as a player at Westside Timbers, it made this a very difficult decision. He was a great ambassador for the club and the sport in the community.

“It is a good opportunity for him in Colorado and we feel this move is beneficial for all involved. We wish him well.”

The 21-year-old Mwanga, who Wilkinson said was ‘a quality piece for the Timbers going into the 2013 season’ when he re-signed two months ago, is now with his third club in four years. Mwanga, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, is considered to have plenty of potential but his production with the Union and Timbers left plenty to be desired.

Mwanga will now play under Oscar Pareja, who is heading into his second year as Rapids head coach and is advocating an attack-minded system. Mwanga joins a group of forwards on the team that includes Edson Buddle, DeShorn Brown and Andre Akpan.


What do you think of Mwanga joining the Rapids? See him fitting in well in Pareja’s system? Did Portland get enough in return?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Aww, Danny will be missed. He had two awesome goals, both against San Jose, I was hoping he’d get another this preseason. I hope he gets what he needs to become a good player in Colorado.

  2. So much nonsense lately in MLS player decisions. Either something is going on behind the scenes with Mwanga that makes him unattractive or these teams just don’t have a clue about consistency. I would have loved to see DC United get in on this deal. They need another forward badly.

    • I don’t think it’s necessarily Mwanga. It’s the clubs he’s played for. With both Philadelphia and Portland, trading him was just one of a whole bunch of roster moves they made around the same time.

  3. Last season, Timbers were huge mess, especially their midfield control, defense line, and theres no way Mwanga was going to develop or grow as a player in at team.

  4. Portland already signs a replacement, Frédéric Piquionne — known to Americans for 2 seasons in the EPL, with Portsmouth and West Ham. Not consistent, but he scored some beautiful goals in England.

  5. every time Porter opens his mouth he is spewing comments about how incredible his team already is before they have played a single meaningful game…it will be satisfying to see his team struggle and miss the playoffs

  6. Actually, Franco, not a suprise at all. He has really looked out of place and just hasn’t fit in with the formations/line-ups that Porter has sent out. There was a lot of speculation that he might be loaned out a la Dike, but I guess Porter doesn’t believe Mwanga will fit in in the foreseeable future. Best wishes to Danny.

  7. Mwanga was supposedly the 4th striker, I was listening to Soccer in Portland podcast and they was speculating that Mwanga would be traded by Friday

    • In Porter’s 4-3-3 we have been watching the 2 outside forwards be played by midfielders (Al-Hassan, Nagbe, Wallace, Nanchoff) more than forwards being slotted in those spots, though Valencia and Mwanga both got a few minutes pre-season playing the outside forward slot.

      CF is going to be Ryan Johnson. It would have been Bright Dike but he is down for most of the season with an ACL in preseason. Valencia is probably next on the dept chart and we may be signing Piquionne who looked better than Mwanga preseason.

      Danny is young and still has time to develop. He clearly has some great skills but he is predictable and in 2012 my complaint about him was he was a black hole (ball goes in but never comes out – either loses it or shoots it) which just isn’t going to work under Porter. He gets paid way too much to be a reserve player and try to spend a couple years developing him into a more complete player. If he got paid 100k then it would be worth it but he gets paid 3 times that much.

      • Yup, Timbers wasted little time in signing a likely cheaper more experienced backup forward.

        Piquionne looked so-so against Dallas playing with the second/third team (but so did all of those players as it was all individual play out there). He looked dangerous in his 20 or so minutes against AIK as a sub with the first team.

        So, Jorge Perlaza + allocation money –> Mwanga –> Piquionne + Colorado 2014 first round pick. Even if Piquonne does little on the field it seems like a fair exchange.

      • Do you post as duckramone on O-live? I thought that black hole comment sounded familiar.

        And not to nitpick, but it is a 2015 1st round pick.

  8. Interesting. I was hoping to see a full season of Mwanga and Nagbe playing together. Then again, being a Seattle fan, maybe it’s better Portland decided against having such a potentially dangerous scoring tandem.

  9. He’s hardly done. He’s young, and if you’ve seen him in person, you know that he has an impressive combination of raw abilities that you can’t teach. He may never be a superstar, but this guy can become a very good MLS striker with patience and hard work.

    On another note, I sort of thought that Freddy Adu might be where the Rapids turned to for help with all the injuries (Buddle, Rivero, Castrillon). That’s not looking likely so there’s not a whole lot of places to turn to. Chivas USA would make sense from a style and need perspective, but that doesn’t seem very likely. Is he really going to sit out an entire season? Wow. It was just 18 months ago that we thought he was back after playing in the Gold Cup and impressing. Hope he finds a home in MLS…

  10. Great deal for the Rapids and a great opportunity for Mwanga. Buddle has fluid on the knee issues, and may miss time. DeShorn Brown is a rookie. Mwanga has the chance to start, and should be able to play atop the 4-3-3. This is probably the place for his career to start matching his potential.

  11. People just giving up on this kid left and right or the same amount of people believing he’s what they need?

    Glass half full/half empty?

    • I don’t think it’s people giving up on him, it’s just timing. Both trades were part of wholesale roster shakeups.

    • I doubt he is done at 21 yrs old. Salgado was the #1 pick in 2011 and he’s not done anything either. These guys really should have tried a few years in a good college program. Maybe the reserve league is going to be better now with the new set-up, but so far it has not been good enough to help bring guys like Mwanga and Salgado along.

      • I think this is where Henry’s statement about the salary cap really does come into play. The Timbers did sign him to a new deal before the season and we won’t know how much that is until the union releases salaries later this year, but it is probably around $300k (he made $356k last year, the Timbers didn’t decline his option and then re-negotiate but it was widely believed he signed the option with a restructure for less than 2012).

        In a league with the cap as low as it is, you can’t afford to have Danny Mwanga as a backup / reserve / developmental player at those salary numbers.

      • You are correct also.

        I think both are the issues though. If he was paid a whole lot less the team might keep him around for depth and try to develop his game to the Porter system and not feel bad that he was never getting first team minutes.

        I think it would be difficult to justify for any team to keep a guy around who takes up 10% of your salary cap but is probably going to be a deep bench / reserve player for the foreseeable future.

      • If he was making that much then he must have been a Generation Adidas signing which means it didnt count against Portland’s cap.

      • He was a Generation Adidas player when he was here in Philly, but I’m pretty sure he “graduated” out of it at the end of 2011 season. Which was a part of the reason we unloaded him.

  12. Looking more and more like Porter really does have control over the player decisions. Trading Mwanga not a surprise though as someone had to go to make room for Portland’s latest signings, Nanchoff and Silvestre.


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