NOWAK: TRADE OF MWANGA FOR PERLAZA WAS TO GET "THE GUY WHO IS HUNGRY"
First, he said trading Mwanga to Portland for Jorge Perlaza "was not Danny's fault." Then, he said Mwanga "needs to answer questions for himself" regarding his career trajectory.
Overall, it sounds like Nowak had good intentions in bringing aboard Perlaza, but there's no doubt Mwanga's lack of sustained success as the top overall SuperDraft pick in 2010 has people scratching their heads.
Here's the rest of Nowak's press conference:
On the trade
"I think both teams were looking from the technical standpoint. Noth teams were looking for some, not change per se, but also to complement the strikers we have. Portland have Kris Boyd and they were looking to complement him with something. With us, it's Lio Pajoy. We tried with the different components to put two, three strikers, for this reason. … Jorge's good to withdraw the defenders a little bit. But it's difficult for him to stretch the field. We're looking to stretch the field and make it bigger. I think both teams can find good components in the lineup. From this standpoint, it's a good trade for both teams.”
On what went into the trade
"Before the trade like that happens, you have to check all the angles. I talked to Carlos (Valdes) and Lio about him. We check all the angles. We want the guy who is hungry and have experience winning the championship. He's slightly older than Danny, but it's not like we're getting an old striker.”
"I will say the most important thing is when we go to Carlos and Lio about (Perlaza's) abilities. Carlos played with him. We know what we're getting. We know the qualities he's bringing to the table."
Why make this trade now
"Why now? If you look at the standings and you look at the goals we scored, we can't rely on one guy who can score. It's Lio or Gabriel Gomez. We have to be dangerous up top. These youngsters … they're moving along, but they're not there yet. We cannot wait until it's too late. This kind of stuff is important to give (Perlaza) a couple weeks to establish himself to make sure we give him enough time to know the team. … We cannot fool ourselves with our position in the standings.”
"We need a guy who is not afraid to stretch the backline and make the defender think. Now we've got the guy who is very good at this. He's very mobile, moves to the wings. ... They're both (Josue Martinez and Perlaza) very good on the wings. Both of them have tremendous speed. Now we have another option to make the defenders uneasy."
On where Mwanga faltered
"It's not Danny's fault. We try a lot of things. We try to give him confidence that he needs to succeed. ... He struggled last year with his shoulde. He scored a couple goals coming off the bench. He played with Sebastien up top. The process is not anything. The quality is what we need right now because of the configuration of the team. It's not like we wake up in the morning and trade this guy. It's a colelctive decision. ... We're on the same page.
On whether Mwanga's hunger to succeed, based on an earlier quote, was lacking
"No, that's not what I said. Danny was a consummate professional. He was great. I cannot say anything negative about him. The technical side of the trade, hungry means neither Danny or Jorge has scored a goal. He wants to be successful. I wish Danny the best. You never know how this is going to work out, but these are the qualities we needed. We believe he is going to help us. Lio will have a good complement and that's what we're looking for. The work needs to be done. ... We believe he will work out very well and he knows already the people he played with."
On regret that a No. 1 SuperDraft pick foundered
"I cannot analyze this thing. I will leave it up to you how to address this thing."
On Mwanga in MLS, and whether he can succeed
"Don't forget – I was the one who flew Christmas Eve to Portland to convince him not to go to France, to come to MLS. I spent time with his family, with his guardians. ... For the future, you never know how it's going to play out. It's always a question how we'll address it and how we're going to go in the future. Danny needs to answer the questions himself – where are you going to be as a professional, where are you going to be as a soccer player?”