Featured / MLS

Union trade Mwanga for Perlaza

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that they have traded Danny Mwanga to Portland Timbers for Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza.

Danny Mwanga was the Union’s first pick in the 2010 SuperDraft.

Perlaza had been a rumored target of the Union in before the 2011 season. While born in Colombia, Perlaza holds a US green card and therefore does not occupy an international slot on the roster.

Mwanga, the Union’s first ever draft pick and Generation Adidas signee, scored 12 goals and eight assists in his first two seasons. Graduating from Generation Adidas for the 2012 season to become a fully salaried roster player. Mwanga struggled to find time on the field in 2012, registering one assist in 458 minutes, along five shots, two of which were on target. The latest salary information shows Mwanga’s guaranteed compensation at $356,250 for 2012.

Joining Portland in 2011 after beginning his professional career at the age of 16 with Atletico Huila in 2001, Perlaza scored six goals and added two assists. In 2011, Perlaza has no goals and no assists from seven shots, two on target, in 490 minutes of play. Perlaza’s 2012 guaranteed salary is reported at $115,000.

According to Section 203 of the 2011-2012 US Soccer Policy Manual, the section dealing with player eligibility for the US Open Cup, Perlaza cannot appear for the Union in the US Open Cup because he appeared in Portland’s loss to Cal FC on May 30.

“(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section, any player who plays in any part of an Open Cup match for a team, may not be included in the Open Cup roster or play for any other team in the Open Cup competition for that year.”

Subsection (d) says that a player who played for a team in the “Open Cup Adult Council category” and then later “is properly registered on, or transferred to” a team in “the Open Cup Professional Division category” is eligible to play for the pro team in the tournament.

Speaking to Chris Vito of the Delco Times, Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said of the Perlaza trade, “This was a move to make our team better, bring in a guy with multiple weapons in Perlaza and a guy who can do multiple things offensively. Danny’s been great with us. He’s a tremendous young talent and we wish him well moving forward. This wasn’t about freeing up money. This was about grabbing a player who can help us.”

When asked what his response would be to a fanbase that grows more and more restless following a string of trades that have seen fan favorites leave the Union, Sakiewicz said, “I have no response to (our fans) throwing hands up at any point. We don’t give up, we don’t quit and we’re doing everything possible to get better each season.”

PSP will have more details as they emerge.

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