Paraguay beats United States in friendly

Oscar Cardozo scored in the first half as Paraguay earned a 1-0 friendly win over the United States.

Cardozo’s winner arrived in the 18th minute when the Americans failed to clear Hernan Perez’s corner. Cardozo, who plays for Benfica in Portugal, scored his fourth international goal, beating U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann off a deflection by Victor Hugo Mareco.

Michael Bradley nearly equalized late in the match, shooting for the top left corner from outside the penalty area. But goalkeeper Justo Villar deflected the ball to safety with the fingertips of his right hand.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley gave Juan Agudelo his first start with the national team after the 18-year-old scored in two of his first three international appearances, including Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Argentina in New Jersey.

The United States plays world champion Spain next on June 4, its final preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Paraguay is getting ready for the Copa America in July.

The Americans had a definite home-crowd advantage with repeated chants of ”U-S-A! U-S-A!” at LP Field, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The crowd of 29,059 set a record for a soccer match in Tennessee.

Paraguay reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup last year, and have now won two straight match against the United States after also taking a 3-1 win at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela.

The Americans had plenty of chances but couldn’t find the net. Landon Donovan’s strike hit the side-netting in the 75th minute.

Eric Lichaj entered in the 61st minute for Jozy Altidore, who scored three goals in his last game on this field, against Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup qualifier two years ago this week. Lichaj passed the ball to Clint Dempsey in the 67th minute, but Dempsey shot high from about nine yards. Paraguay nearly came back down the other end and made it 2-0, but Marcelo Estigarribia’s shot bounced off the right post.


Paraguay: Justo Villar; Marcos Caceres, Victor Hugo Mareco, Paulo Da Silva, Miguel Samudio; Enrique Vera (Dario Veron, 79th), Osmar Molinas (Marcos Riveros, 63rd), Cristian Riveros; Hernan Perez (Osvaldo Martinez, 68th), Oscar Cardozo (Lucas Barrios, 79th), Marcelo Estigarribia (Aureliano Torres, 90th)

United States: Marcus Hahnemann (David Yelldell, 46th); Timmy Chandler (Jonathan Spector, 80th), Jay DeMerit (Carlos Bocanegra, 41st), Tim Ream, Jonathan Bornstein (Sacha Kljestan, 77th); Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu (Jermaine Jones, 46th), Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan; Jozy Altidore (Eric Lichaj, 60th), Juan Agudelo