It did not take Danny Mwanga long to make an impact with the Cosmos last Saturday. In his first game as a loan player from the Colorado Rapids, the 23-year-old forward set up the team's second goal in the 42nd minute of a 2-2 match against the Indy Eleven in Indianapolis. The Democratic Republic of the Congo native became the NASL team's fourth loan player, joining Jimmy Ockford, Connor Lade and Andres Flores. Mwanga hopes to get another start when the Cosmos host Fort Lauderdale at Shuart Stadium Saturday night at 7.
How frustrating was it for you not playing in Colorado?
It was very tough. Every player wants to play. I'm still young. I need to play and I need to develop as a player and the only way you do that is by being on the pitch. As a striker, you need to get your confidence and the only way you get your confidence is by scoring goals. This is a wonderful opportunity for me, to get games and try to get my confidence back.
What would you like to accomplish with the Cosmos?
I think I'm a winner, not just as a player. I want to win. I know me playing games, getting my confidence, getting my good form would help the team win games. By winning games, you will achieve a lot.
You not only started, you contributed Saturday, helping your self-esteem.
Absolutely. [Gio Savarese is] a very good coach. He sees talent. He will reward guys who will work hard. Getting an opportunity to start a game right away, it shows you that the coach really believes in you and has confidence in you. Getting an assist, it shows that I am working in the right direction. It gives me a lot of motivation to work even harder.
Did you know the loan was coming?
I knew Alecko from Philadelphia. I kept in contact with him. I wasn't getting much minutes with the Rapids. I really wanted to go somewhere to get better, to learn and achieve something. They won the league last year and they have a lot of very talented and experienced players like Marcos Senna and guys who had played in MLS before. It was a good fit for me.
Has anything surprised you here?
I think how strong the locker room is. I don't think I've been on a team where guys are so tight together. It's just being one family. Those things really relate, like last year we won the league. This year, we're in a position where we can pull something off, as well.
Does one moment in your career stand out?
My first goal as a professional . For a striker, the best feeling is scoring goals. There were three minutes left. Scoring with my first touch of the game, it's a thing that I can't really describe. It's a moment that I think of every day like it happened yesterday.