Cardozo all in for surprising restart with Chivas USA

Paolo Cardozo

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CARSON, Calif. – Paolo Cardozo is still settling into his new red-and-white Chivas USA uniform, but after being traded from the LA Galaxy on Tuesday, the plucky midfielder is eager to give his all for his new club.

Cardozo, the 16th overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, was dealt to Chivas on Tuesday in exchange for Brazilian defender David Júnior Lopes. But after spending more than a year with the defending MLS Cup champions, the Uruguayan-born Argentine midfielder is ready for a new challenge with the Rojiblancos.

“I want to do my best,” Cardozo said on Wednesday after training for the first time with his new club. “I think I'll have an opportunity to play a lot more games. And I have a lot of support from our and from teammates, and I'm looking forward to incorporating myself as soon as possible with the team.”

A dynamic attacking midfielder who can play in a variety of positions in the attack, Cardozo was unable to find consistent playing time with LA. In 2011, the diminutive midfielder was used both on the right wing and behind the front line for 23 games in all competitions.

This season, Cardozo made two appearances for the LA, the first as a substitute in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Toronto FC and the second as a starter in the Galaxy’s defeat at the hands of the New England Revolution.

Still, the move did come as a surprise to Cardozo.

“The truth is everything happened kind of sudden,” the 22-year-old said. “[The Galaxy] explained they needed a player like David, and Chivas was willing to make that change. I felt a little weird at the beginning.”

The entire concept of a trade is something totally new to the onetime River Plate youth product, who spent time with Argentine second-division club Quilmes prior to being drafted by the Galaxy.

“It's weird because it only happened here,” he said. “One moment you're a player with one team, and then the next moment you're with another team. I accept it. It's part of the game. I'm thinking positive. I'm not going to be depressed or sad or anything. I have an opportunity to play for Chivas, to play well and prove to everyone what I'm capable of doing.”

A team official confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Cardozo has traveled with the Rojiblancos as they prepare to take on a reeling Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday (4:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).  

While Cardozo admits will never forget his time with the Galaxy, the dynamic midfielder is ready to contribute for Chivas.

“When you play with figures like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and David Beckham and being champions was something that was beautiful,” Cardozo said. “It was a great year last year. Now I have to think about Chivas and get ready this week, to try to play [Saturday].”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com.