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Johnny Cardoso excels in Real Betis’ win over Cadiz

Friday marked Johnny Cardoso’s fourth-consecutive start for La Liga side Real Betis and it ended up being his best performance yet.

Cardoso assisted once and logged a strong 90 minutes in Real Betis’ 2-0 road league victory over Cadiz. It marked the third-straight match in which Cardoso went the distance for Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.

After forcing a turnover in the sixth minute, Cardoso sprung Willian Jose upfield before the Spanish forward slotted home for a 1-0 Betis lead. It marked Cardoso’s first assist for the club since his move from Brazilian squad Internacional.

Pablo Fornals doubled Betis’ lead in the first minute of the second half, giving the visitors a comfortable two-goal advantage.

The 22-year-old Cardoso excelled on both ends of the field for Betis, completing 97% of his passes, winning six duels, and making three tackles. Cardoso has looked to fit right into the Betis squad as Pellegrini’s men continue their climb up the league standings.

Up next for Real Betis is a home UEFA Europa Conference League first leg showdown with Croatian visitors Dinamo Zagreb on Feb. 15.


  1. Cardoso has looked really, really sharp. I’ll be honest, I was pretty “meh” on him his first couple outings with the Nats…he wasn’t terrible, but I did wonder why Gregg seemed so high on him. I certainly had never watched him play in Brazil. Here I’ll tip my hat to Gregg and go: it appears you were right. Cardoso can play, and better yet, he plays at a position we’re distinctly thin on. I like both Tyler Adams and what I’ve seen of Lennard Maloney but they’re both pure destroyers (albeit with truly impressive range in both cases), selfless, tough as nails, and awesome on defense and massive cover for their CB’s…but also pretty much nonexistent when it comes to their ability to progress the ball. They both have a serious amount of dog in them. They do not contribute offensively.

    Cardoso offers you a lot of other dimensions. His passing is really crisp, he’s really good and clean on the ball, and he’s a lot more athletic than I realized. That sequence yesterday where he pounced, pressed, won the ball upfield, and then put the ball on an absolute plate for Willian Jose really raised my eyebrows. I love Tyler, but you’ll never see that from him.

    Mind, it’s hard to imagine a USMNT pool where a healthy Tyler Adams wouldn’t have a place – or, in his absence, we wouldn’t have a use for a defensive destroyer like Lennard Maloney – but Cardoso’s swift acclimation to La Liga (and with a well above-average side) has been impressive to watch. And you wonder if his skillset is complete enough he may actually be starting for us over either guy in Copa America. He’s making a case for himself.

    The thing I’m going to be watching carefully when I watch him with Betis is his defensive quality. That I’m not sure on yet. It’s all well and good to be a great passer and skilled on the ball, but if you’re not a dog, you’re also not a strong 6 whatever else you can do. (It’s what limits the otherwise very skilled and classy Luca de la Torre at the spot, IMHO.) But the guy’s definitely got my attention…and, it seems, Gregg’s.

    Really good to see.

  2. Looking like a player ready to have a bigger presence with the USMNT. Won’t be surprised to see him top clubs looking to sign him in a couple of years. Has Fit in immediately with Betis.


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