Paraguay's Oscar Cardozo didn't do much in Tuesday's international friendly against the U.S. at rainy LP Field, but he did enough.
Cardozo buried a ricocheting corner kick into the netting above U.S. goalie Marcus Hahnemann in the 18th minute. It was all the the visitors — World Cup quarterfinalists last summer in South Africa — needed.
The slippery conditions and the exhibition nature of the match between the two countries as they geared up for their continental championships later this summer led to relatively careful play from both sides.
In reality, the U.S. had better chances in front of the crowd of 29,059. But the equalizer never came.
Three minutes after he scored, Cardozo headed out an excellent early chance — coincidentally also off a corner — from the foot of Landon Donovan.
In the 29th minute, Clint Dempsey fired a chance off a half-volley from 40 yards out, the ball dipping and moving in the air, but straight into the chest of Paraguay keeper Justo Villar.
In the 41st, Donovan, the U.S. captain, took a free kick earned after 18-year-old Juan Agudelo — who started for his country for the first time — made a strong run only to be taken down 30 yards out. Donovan fired a cross to the far post, but Jay Demerit couldn't get his head square to the ball.
Perhaps the best chance came late, after it appeared the teams shifted their strategy to an even more careful one than before. Midfielder Michael Bradley struck a ball well 15 yards out, beating a flatfooted Villar, but nailing the post.
U.S. Coach Bob Bradley chose to rest many of his top players — especially in defense — days after a 1-1 draw against Argentina and FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
Backline stalwart Oguchi Onyewu didn't play. Neither did No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Howard (Hahnemann, Howard's primary back-up, was replaced at halftime by third-line 'keeper David Yelldell). Carlos Bocanegra, a long-time anchor of the American defense, entered in the 42nd minute when Demerit left with an injury.
The loss ran the U.S.'s record at LP Field to 1-2.