FC Cincinnati's Brandon Vazquez Scores in USMNT Debut, Hitting Another Milestone

With the goal, Vazquez became the first FC Cincy player to score for the USMNT.

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal embraces FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez after Vazquez scored for the U.S. Men's National Team during a friendly match against Serbia on Jan. 25, 2023. - twitter.com/usmnt
FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal embraces FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez after Vazquez scored for the U.S. Men's National Team during a friendly match against Serbia on Jan. 25, 2023.

It's all happening for FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez now.

Making his international debut at the senior level after being selected for the U.S. Men's National Team's January training camp, Vazquez earned both a cap and a goal during the USMNT's Jan. 25 loss against Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles. Vazquez had the team's lone goal of the friendly game in the 29th minute, scoring with a header after Vancouver Whitecaps fullback Julian Gressel sliced the ball his way.

With the goal, Vazquez became the first active FC Cincy player to play for the USMNT and the first team member ever to score for the United States, according to media materials.

"Making my debut tonight and scoring on my debut with my family here close to where I grew up, it's something incredible. Seeing my family celebrate like that and it's something amazing to see," Vazquez told reporters after the game. The forward had grown up in Chula Vista, San Diego, which is about 130 miles from BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

The USMNT's 2-1 loss to Serbia kicked off the 2026 FIFA World Cup cycle (As a city, Cincinnati failed to secure a World Cup match for 2026). Players from the USMNT's training camp – typically filled with rising talents – often are called upon to join a World Cup roster later.

According to ESPN, Vazquez was the 59th USMNT player to score in his international debut. This was Vazquez' first call-up at the senior level, though he previously participated at the U-17, U-19 and U-20 levels. He's a candidate for "Man of the Match," and the public can vote for him through the U.S. Soccer app.

Watch Vazquez's goal for the USMNT below.

Vazquez's place in FC Cincinnati

Vazquez and attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta were included in Major League Soccer’s 2022 Best XI selections, marking the first time that FC Cincy players were celebrated among the top 11 players in the MLS. Vazquez notched 18 goals on the season, a personal career high. He led the league in open-play goals (16) tied for the most header goals (six) and set FC Cincinnati records for goals across all competitions, shots and shots on goal while becoming the first Cincinnati player to score multiple goals in consecutive games. Acosta tallied 10 goals and an MLS-leading 19 assists for the regular season. Cincinnati's captain tied for third in the league for goal contributions – 29, a career high – and also led the club in game-winning assists with five. Together, Vazquez and Acosta became the first pair of teammates with at least 25 goal contributions in a single season since 2018.

Both Vazquez and Acosta were selected for the MLS All-Star Game during the summer. It marked the first time any member of Cincinnati's club had been invited to the game in the league's 26 installments (FC Cincinnati became the 24th team to enter the MLS as a professional soccer team in 2019; before that, the team played in the second-division United Soccer League from 2016 to 2018).

In August, Vazquez signed a contract extension that will keep him with FC Cincinnati through 2025. 
"We are delighted to keep Brandon with FC Cincinnati for years to come," general manager Chris Albright said at the time. "Re-signing Brandon was a major priority for us this summer, as he has proven he can be one of the league's best forwards. He has been a vital part of our success this season thanks to his character and dedication to the game, and we are excited to have him as a foundational piece going forward."

Preparing for the 2023 season

FC Cincinnati's pre-season schedule is about to start, with five friendlies on the slate beginning Jan. 27. The team will return to Cincinnati to train Feb. 21-24 before the Feb. 25 season opener against Houston Dynamo FC at TQL Stadium. Season and single tickets are on sale now.

FC Cincinnati had a banner 2022 season, including its first-ever MLS Cup postseason berth, a postseason win against a higher seed and a club record for consecutive scoring games. Cincinnati went 12-9 with 13 draws in the regular season, clinching its spot in the playoffs with a win over D.C. United during the final game Oct. 9. The Orange and Blue followed that up with an MLS Cup playoff victory against the New York Red Bulls, with the season coming to a close on Oct. 20 with a playoff loss to Eastern Conference top seed Philadelphia Union. The 2022 season also marked the first time Cincinnati did not finish in last place in the Eastern Conference.

According to FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan, 2022's successes will spur new challenges in 2023.

"Now we're not surprising anybody in 2023. It's only going to get more difficult, which is a good thing," Noonan said in October. "I've been around this league long enough to know that year in and year out is very difficult to maintain success. It's only going to get more difficult. 2022 was about culture, identity, ways to progress the team to be competitive, and we got there. Now we need to improve on that and have some specific things that we're going to target from the very beginning."

Coming soon: CityBeat Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Cincinnati stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
Scroll to read more Sports & Recreation articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.