Going into Saturday's game against FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids needed another striker, ideally one who had proven he could score a goal or two in MLS before. They got that guy -- though perhaps not as proven as some of us would have liked -- in Danny Mwanga when they traded with the Portland Timbers on Thursday. It was a fairly simple deal:
2015 first-round SuperDraft pick
Simple, but I feel that both sides got what they wanted out of it.
Colorado is building a youthful team that looks prepped to excel come next year and in the future, even if they stumble at bit this season. A 2015 SuperDraft pick, assuming all goes well, should mean very little to this team if the plan they have in place works out. (As I've said before, they have already essentially gone 'all in' on this strategy, and this is just another example of that.)
It's a risky move in some ways on our side, since Mwanga has had his troubles in the past few seasons because of managers stymieing him, but sometimes you have to take risks to get rewards. If Mwanga can turn into the player that we all saw in flashes in 2010, it's a win. Heck, even if he can turn into half of that player he'll still be a very consistent starting forward in MLS. Smart move by the Rapids team to get the guy they wanted without getting rid of any players.
For Portland, the move makes even more sense. John Spencer brought Mwanga in and was immediately fired, which left him in a rather awkward situation as they couldn't seem to figure out what to do with him. The team has even gone so far as to play him in an attacking midfielder's role at points, which is ridiculous for a guy who had started to prove himself as a natural forward.
So Portland clearly didn't need Mwanga on the team any more. Colorado felt that they needed one more player to add to the forward ranks and was willing to give up a 2015 pick with the idea that hopefully they would be good enough in 2015 to make the pick not matter.
In the end, both teams got what they wanted. If Mwanga does well, I'd even go so far as to say that it's very easy that both teams will win this trade in the end.