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Paolo Cardozo stars (again) in Galaxy draw

Uruguayan rookie Paolo Cardozo continues to impress for the Galaxy. This time the babyfaced midfielder set up L.A.'s goal in a 1-1 draw Thursday afternoon against San Jose at the Home Depot Center's track and field stadium.

Cardozo, who tallied in the Galaxy's first two preseason scrimmages, perfectly delivered a free kick for Mike Magee to nod home in the 84th minute as L.A. (1-0-2) overcame missing cohesion up front to claim another draw against Major League Soccer opposition.

Ike Opara scored for the Earthquakes (0-1-1), volleying in Joey Gjertsen's corner kick in the third minute.

Cardozo, 21, a first-round draft choice from Argentine club Quilmes, has in a week and a half on the field with L.A. demonstrated superb foot skills, attacking savvy and an ability to combine with teammates.

“I think, still, with him, it's a process where he needs to understand us a little better, and we need to understand him,” said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, "but I think he's had a couple of good days.”

He's so slight -- just 5 feet 5, 135 pounds, and he doesn't look much older than 14 -- and the game in MLS is far more physical than in Argentina, so his ability to get on the field and contribute will depend on how quickly he acclimates.

“He's coming along, he's definitely coming along,” Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter said. “He's going to have to get used to the physicality of the league, but I think he'll be fine. … He's tiny, but he's shifty. He's a good player.”

Cardozo drew the foul, from Quakes defender Justin Morrow, to set up the free kick just to the right of San Jose's box, and he nearly gave L.A. a victory five minutes later, firing just past the upper-left corner.

He gave the Galaxy more attack than they managed from both sets of forwards. Juan Pablo Angel and prospective partner Chad Barrett haven't started connecting, and Magee seems further ahead than Adam Cristman on the second tandem.

“Our group played better than we did [in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Portland],” Arena said. “Obviously, we've got to be better in the final third of the field, but we did a lot of good things in the first half, created some chances, and just failed with our last pass, our cross or our finish.”

WORTH NOTING: Loyola Marymount midfielder Rafael Baca (Lawndale/Animo Leadership HS) and UCLA product Maxwell Griffin (Palmdale/Littlerock HS) are on trial with the Earthquakes, and both played Thursday. … Arena, on his chief attackers: “I think as we give Juan and Chad a little bit more time, they'll be good additions to the team. And, you know, Landon [Donovan] still needs to get in better form. He's had a little bit of time off.” … Left back Todd Dunivant saw his first game action, playing the first 35 minutes. … A.J. DeLaGarza and Frankie Hejduk played in two spots along the backline. DeLaGarza was on the right for the first 60 minutes and in the middle the last 30; Hejduk came on for Dunivant, then switched to the right when DeLaGarza moved inside. … Rookie Anthony Ampaipitakwong nearly gave the Quakes a 2-0 lead in the 55th minute, hitting the right post from Ellis McLoughlin's feed.

LINEUPS:

Galaxy

First half: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Leonardo, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant (Frankie Hejduk, 35); Landon Donovan, Juninho, Chris Birchall, Miguel Lopez; Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel.

Second half: Brian Perk; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter (Ryan Thomas, 60), Frankie Hejduk; Hector Jimenez, Paolo Cardozo, Jovan Kirovski, Bryan Jordan; Adam Cristman, Mike Magee.

San Jose

First 61 minutes: Jon Busch; Chris Leitch, Ike Opara (Bobby Burling, 46), Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward; Rafael Baca, Steve Cronin, Joey Gjertsen (Anthony Ampaipitakwong, 46); Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart (Ellis McLoughlin, 46), Ryan Johnson.

62nd minute on: Andrew Weber; Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Chris Leitch, Justin Morrow; Omar Jasseh, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, unidentified trialist; Ellis McLoughlin, Max Griffin.

GALAXY 2011 PRESEASON

Feb. 4 vs. Loyola Marymount at HDC: W 7-1 (goals by Birchall 2, Angel, Berhalter, Juninho, Kirovski, Cardozo)

Feb. 8 vs. Portland Timbers at HDC: T 1-1 (Cardozo)

Feb. 10 vs. San Jose Earthquakes at HDC: T 1-1 (Magee)

Upcoming

Feb. 16: vs. Colorado Rapids at Tempe, Ariz.

Feb. 20: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Tempe, Ariz.

Feb. 22: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Phoenix

March 9: vs. UCLA at HDC