Peter Nowak has never seen a trade he didn't like. The Philadelphia Union manager's complete overhaul of his team continued on Wednesday when he sent the club's first ever draft pick, Danny Mwanga, to the Portland Timbers in exchange for Jorge Perlaza.
For Mwanga, his move to Portland has to be one he'll welcome. He moved to Portland from Zaire in 2006 and went to college at Oregon St. so he is going home. He is also getting out of Philadelphia, where he did not always get along with Nowak and spent more time on the bench than he, or many neutral observers, thought smart.
That's not to say that Mwanga was a star for the Union, because he wasn't He hasn't scored this season and his career has stagnated so a change of scenery will do him some good. The Timbers are hoping that the move can jumpstart his career, then he can jumpstart their attack. Kris Boyd has been underwhelming at striker no matter his strike partner, but Mwanga, with his pace, could prove to be the perfect partner for Boyd and the cure to their goal-scoring ills. At least that is what the Timbers are betting on.
On the flip side, the Union are getting a good player in Perlaza in exchange for someone that Nowak clearly didn't rate as much as everyone else. Maybe most importantly, they are clearing Mwanga's $350,000 contract off of their books. Now they can give Perlaza a run out, who has shown flashes of being very good before for Portland, and they can do it while paying him less than half of what they were paying Mwanga.
Nowak has shipped out seemingly his entire team in the last two years, including his captain. Now his first draft pick is gone, but this one isn't nearly as perplexing as the rest. This one makes sense, just like it does for the Timbers, who get to bring Mwanga home in hopes of getting some goals for a team that really needs some.