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Johnny Cardoso is capitalizing on his opportunity with Betis — can he do the same with USMNT?

johnny-cardoso-is-capitalizing-on-his-opportunity-with-betis-—-can-he-do-the-same-with-usmnt?
Johnny Cardoso is capitalizing on his opportunity with Betis — can he do the same with USMNT?

To quote Eminem, “You only get one shot … do no miss your chance to blow.” 

In an effort to prove the quality of a player, Gregg Berhalter could just keep playing them until they finally have a good game, but that’s not how the United States men’s national team works. That’s not how life works. The USMNT is not a charity.

If a player really wants to break into the first team conversation, they need to make the most of whatever limited opportunities they get — and right now, that’s precisely what Johnny Cardoso is doing.

After completing a $6.3 million transfer from Internacional of the Brazilian Serie A to La Liga club Real Betis, the 22-year-old from New Jersey has hit the ground running in Spain, playing the full 90 minutes in Betis’ last three matches and winning Man of the Match in his last appearance.

At long last, it looks like Tyler Adams has competition for one the starting spots in the United States’ midfield. Competition is good, and the U.S. doesn’t have enough of it. There can be no sacred cows as this team prepares for a World Cup on home soil in 2026.

But we have yet to see the Betis version of Cardoso with the U.S. men’s national team. To be fair, he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities — just nine caps and two starts— but he has to make the most of the limited chances that are given to him, like has with Betis. You get your opportunities, or you create your opportunities, and then you either grab hold of them with both hands or you allow someone else to grab them from you.

Cardoso is the challenger, so he has to show that he’s better than what Gregg Berhalter already has. In this case, you’re talking about being better than a captain and an established star in Tyler Adams. But Adams is coming off a long-term serious injury. He is vulnerable. There is opportunity.

Cue Eminem.

USMNT’s roadmap to success ahead of 2026 World Cup | SOTU

Alexi Lalas is a soccer analyst for FOX Sports and host of “Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union Podcast.” He represented the USMNT at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and had a nine-year professional career. In 2006, he became the president of the LA Galaxy and helped bring David Beckham to Major League Soccer.

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