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U.S. falls to Paraguay 1-0

March 29, 2011

NASHVILLE – After coming from behind to tie Argentina on Saturday night, the United States had an offensive meltdown on Tuesday falling to Paraguay 1-0 in front of a Tennessee state record soccer crowd of 29,059 at LP Field.

Oscar Cardozo scored in the 18th minute giving Paraguay the win, as the U.S. attempted 13 shots, but managed to put only three of them on frame.

Twice it appeared the U.S. would earn their second straight come-from-behind draw with late chances, but Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar made two spectacular saves to keep the U.S. off the score sheet. With the loss, the U.S. record against Paraguay now stands at 2-2-2.

"Overall, I think the team had some good periods in terms of moving the ball and having ideas but we gave up a bad goal on a set piece, both in terms of responsibility and dealing with the play,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Paraguay is a strong team defensively and they close down fast but we hurt ourselves because when we got into good positions we didn't come away with many good chances. Part of it is a credit to Paraguay's defending, but those would be the areas that let us down and we ended up with a tough 1-0 loss.”

The visitors took the lead after Cardozo latched on to a loose ball in the area. Hernan Perez whipped an inswinging corner into the box and when the ball popped loose from a deflection, Cardozo reacted quickest to smash the ball past a helpless Marcus Hahnemann from close range.

Bradley made four changes from the lineup that tied Argentina. Timmy Chandler, who turned 21 years old today, made his first start for the national team. It was also the first start in four career appearances for young forward Juan Agudelo, who played 90 minutes.

Hahnemann made a pair of back-to-back saves from long-distance laste in the half. After a turnover in the USA’s half, Hernan Perez unleashed a low drive from 25 yards that skipped off the wet turf, forcing Hahnemann to keep the ball out with his chest. The rebound fell to Enrique Vera who tried his own luck from an even greater distance. Hahnemann, making his first start for the USA since Oct. 17, 2007, dove well and saved to his right.

Paraguay came close to a second goal in the 78th minute when Marcelo Estigarribia smashed a left-footed drive past David Yelldell, who had replaces Hahnemann in goal at the half, and off the post from 30 yards out.

The U.S. almost had the equalizer in the 86th minute. Michael Bradley sent a 25 yard drive toward goal, but Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar sprung across the goal to make an excellent one-handed save on the ball that looked destined for the top corner.

The U.S. will not get back together until late May when they will begin preparations for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup from June 5-25 across 11 cities. Before kicking off the Gold Cup, the U.S. will host 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion Spain on June 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

PAR – Oscar Cardozo (21-Victor Hugo Mareco) 18th minute

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

PAR: Justo Villar; Marcos Caceres, Victor Hugo Mareco, Paulo Da Silva, Miguel Samudio; Enrique Vera (Dario Veron, 79), Osmar Molinas (Marcos Riveros, 63), Cristian Riveros; Hernan Perez (Osvaldo Martínez, 68), Oscar Cardozo (Lucas Barrios, 79), Marcelo Estigarribia (Aureliano Torres, 90+1)

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