Opinion: Why Borussia Dortmund should consider a move for USMNT midfielder Johnny Cardoso

Johnny Cardoso. (Photo by John Dorton/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Johnny Cardoso. (Photo by John Dorton/USSF/Getty Images for USSF) /
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Johnny Cardoso
Johnny Cardoso. (Photo by Pedro Tesch/Getty Images) /

A closer look at Johnny Cardoso

Dominating duels in lower leagues is a sign of a player who is athletic enough to compete at a higher level. Johnny Cardoso’s splitting between the 6 and 8 roles negatively impacts the perception of some of his statistics. But his 1.86 interceptions per 90 shows an elite ability to read the game. Cardoso is also defensively capable, ranking well in blocks, clearances and aerial duels won in addition to his interceptions.

While his defensive attributes jump off the page, Cardoso’s ability to improve in possession as he has aged is what is most impressive about him. Since he first emerged as a rotation option at 19, his completion percentage has grown year on year from 61.7% to 80%. His progressive passes have also jumped from just over two to over five per game.

While Cardoso’s progressive passing isn’t elite, his ability to improve year on year demonstrates his ability to make the step up. Further, Cardoso ranks slightly above average in both non penalty xG and xAG per 90 compared to all midfielders. Given that Cardoso spends most of his team in the most conservative role, this shows his ability to unlock defences and provide a set-piece threat.

Cardoso is also fairly press resistant. Utilizing his excellent technique, he is able to find ways to avoid the press before playing balls into attackers. This trait makes Cardoso a nice fit as a lone 6 or as an 8, doing most of the dirty work in midfield. Cardoso’s tactical awareness and all-round abilities make him an excellent pairing for any Borussia Dortmund midfielder.