Timbers trade Mwanga to sign Piquionne

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



On the day they introduced two new jerseys, the Portland Timbers made two roster moves.

Three days before their 2013 Major League Soccer season opener, the Timbers traded away forward Danny Mwanga and signed forward Frederic Piquionne.

The 34-year-old played the last three seasons in England, two of them in the Premier League. In eight seasons in France’s top league, he scored more than 50 goals.

Coach Caleb Porter said Piquionne made a positive impression during a preseason tryout with the Timbers, and that the veteran brings needed depth to the striker position. Piquionne signed a one-year contract with the Timbers. Terms of the agreement, as is MLS policy, were not announced.

To make room for Piquionne, the Timbers traded forward Danny Mwanga to Colorado for a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

Mwanga starred at Portland’s Jefferson High School and at Oregon State, then was the first player drafted in the 2010 SuperDraft by Philadelphia. He was traded to Portland last June and scored three goals in 18 appearances with the Timbers.

General manager Gavin Wilkinson, noting Mwanga’s ties to the Portland community, called the decision to trade the young player “very difficult.”

The injury that will sideline striker Bright Dike for at least six months left the Timbers short of true strikers behind projected starter Ryan Johnson. In preseason matches, Mwanga played both outside and in an attacking midfield position, but didn’t look comfortable in Porter’s system.

New uniforms unveiled — Thursday was Portland’s turn to unveil new primary and secondary jerseys for the next two seasons. The primary kit will continue to be ponderosa green and white. The secondary jersey will continue to be “Rose City Red.”

The team’s third jersey for one more season will continue to be all white with green lettering. Under the MLS agreement with Adidas, each team jersey is altered every third season.

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