It's official: Danny Mwanga is on his way to join his third MLS team in four seasons. The Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids announced Thursday afternoon that Mwanga is headed to Colorado, with the Timbers receiving a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in exchange.
The move confirms a report from MLSsoccer.com Colorado Rapids beat writer Chris Bianchi, who tweeted out the news on Thursday morning.
Mwanga, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by the Philadelphia Union. He scored 12 goals in 61 appearances with the club before he was traded to the Timbers last June. He scored three goals in 18 appearances for the club last season.
“Danny is a young, exciting forward who has proven his ability to make an impact in MLS,” Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said in a statement. “He will be a good fit for our system and we’re looking forward to welcoming him into our squad.”
Rapids president Tim Hinchey told the Denver Post that Mwanga is expected to be an understudy to starting striker Edson Buddle, who is expected to miss the season opener on Saturday at FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) with a knee injury.
"We're looking at three, five 10 years down the line," Hinchey told the paper. "When you look at Danny, a No. 1 draft pick of Philly in 2010, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, talented striker. And Deshorn [Brown, Colorado's top draft pick this year], a big, strong striker-plus. They can be understudies to Edson. Now we have depth and assets for years to come."
Though Mwanga appeared to find his feet in Portland, his hometown, his stay proved to be a short one as the Timbers looked to overhaul after two disappointing seasons.
“Danny was with the Timbers for a short time, but we appreciate his contributions to the club,” Timbers GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. "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.”