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Mwanga Looking to Regain Confidence with Cosmos

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Players joining the New York Cosmos via a loan is becoming a reoccurring trend this for the re-established NASL club.

The Cosmos have added Jimmy Ockford, Andes Flores, and Connor Lade all through loans. So helping newly acquired loan player Danny Mwanga adjust to his new life as a New York Cosmo is second nature by now for the team.

"I think we have a very strong locker room and the guys are very friendly," Mwanga said about his new teammates. "They welcomed me since the first day. I felt like I belong in the group and I already knew jojo, Danny Szetela, aleko from before. So it helped out a lot more too."

Mwanga is on loan from the Colorado Rapids, where has been a member of the team since 2013. The 23-year-old native of Congo is a former first overall pick by the Philadelphia Union in 2010. After a strong rookie campaign - he scored seven goals in 24 appearances and was a finalist for MLS rookie of the year - his production tapered off.

He spent two more seasons in Philly before a short stint in with the Portland Timber in 2012. Then he joined the Rapids the following season.

Mwanga has struggled to get playing time in Colorado. He has appeared in just six games this season for the Rapids and views the loan to New York as a way to see more playing time.

"I mean for my age and my career I think I need to get games," he said. "I think with the situation with the Rapids it was very tough to get minutes. I think coming into a team like the Cosmos - who won the league last year - they have a very good coaching group. Guys with different experience and I think it was just good for me to come in here and get some minutes. And learn from those guys."

Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese gave Mwanga playing time right off the bat. In his first game with New York he started for the green and white and assisted on their second goal in the 2- draw with Indy Eleven last Saturday.

Savarese said he did "very well" in his first game with the Cosmos.

"He looks happy in our environment with our guys," the Cosmos Head Coach said. "We know he's going to continue growing. He's got a lot quality. Again he's another young player that has played many years in MLS, even though he's still young. I think he can further develop and he's definitely going to continue to help us."

With the number of players on loan now at four it would seem the perception of the franchise is at a good place. Teams clearly see what the Cosmos are doing and trust that the club can help a player's development.

But Savarese and the Cosmos don't just bring in any old player.

"We know that the players we bring in are going to add something," Savarese explained. "Otherwise we don't bring them, especially as a loan player. We feel the four guys that we brought in have given us good things. Have extended the depth of the roster and have played minutes."

The success, so far, of the four players in New York on loan has left Savarese hopeful that the Cosmos can continue this with success going forward.

"For us it's having good relationships with clubs," he said. "That they give us players is a good thing. Maybe now people see what we're about, what we do with the players, and the way we do things. And how we respect them.

"That they feel that, maybe, this is always a good environment for the players that aren't playing as much in order to get back into confidence. For us hopefully it's going to be a thing in the future to get players."

For Danny Mwanga, he sees the opportunity that lies ahead of him.

"I wasn't really getting that much in Colorado and I have new opportunity to come here, and get games. I'm just looking forward for this opportunity and trying to work hard, and trying to gain my confidence to where it was before," he said.