When he came to Cincinnati in 2019, Brandon Vazquez was looking for a fresh start after not being given the opportunity to reach his fullest potential in Atlanta. Now, after four seasons, 127 appearances, 84 starts and 43 goals, he leaves the club with a legacy and as a champion.
Vazquez and FC Cincinnati agreed to a transfer of the striker to the historic Liga MX side CF Monterrey for a multi-million-dollar fee with assorted additional bonuses and benefits.
After starting only 14 matches in his first two seasons with FCC, Vazquez found his stride in tandem with the arrival of head coach Pat Noonan. Since 2022, Vazquez has 26 goals and 12 assists for The Orange and Blue, helping him earn his first call-up with the U.S. Men's National Team where he made eight appearances and scored four goals in 2023.
More than anything, he leaves a champion. Vazquez was a vital piece to FC Cincinnati’s first MLS trophy, scoring twice in the Supporters’ Shield clinching match at Toronto FC on September 30 and having dozens of memorable moments along the way.
“Even though I won three trophies in Atlanta, part of me feels like those weren’t really mine to win,” Vazquez told Apple TV’s Breakaway series on MLS Season Pass. “All the hard work that I’ve been doing, that the team has been doing … just the grind … so winning the Supporters’ Shield with FC Cincinnati felt so good.”
Now he has a trophy to call his own and leaves a legacy in his wake. As the all-time leading goal scorer in club history, and making the second most appearances in club history, Vazquez has set a precedent for future success at the striker position.
“This team made history,” Vazquez added at his season-ending exit interview. “This team is special. I am so very grateful to be part of this club, part of this team and part of history.”
On top of team trophies, the individual accolades for the striker were unprecedented. Alongside teammate Luciano Acosta, Vazquez was named to the 2022 MLS All-Star Team.
It was made clear at the end of last season that Vazquez was at the very least interested in a move to help progress his career and improve his case for the USMNT in their pursuit for World Cup glory in 2026. While he mentioned specifically a move to Europe in his exit interview, CF Monterrey, also known as “Rayados” or “The Striped-Ones,” have been a dominant force in Mexico since their founding in 1945... Dating back to 2010, Rayados have won five Concacaf Champions League crowns and been named champions of Mexico in the Primera Division/Liga Mexa and the Copa MX a combined eight times in their history. The internationally-renowned club is currently listed at No. 2 in the Concacaf Club rankings.
“Right now I’m thinking I have to fight for a spot on the national team roster for the World Cup, so I think the best way to achieve that would be to play overseas,” Vazquez said at his exit interview, prior to the opportunity to play in Monterrey being known. “To grow my game and take my game to the next level.
“I know the ownership group, Chris (Albright) and Pat (Noonan) are all on my side. They want to help me grow. They want this team to be a place where players can develop and take the next step. That makes me extremely happy and shows what this club is about and how special it is.”
Off the pitch, Vazquez is a locker room leader with an easy-going personality. He held his teammates accountable while also being the first to crack a smile. Among other hobbies, Vazquez was well known for his passion for coffee and would regularly accompany teammates Matt Miazga and Nick Hagglund on road trips to local coffee shops.
A memory Vazquez says he will never forget is the aftermath of winning the Supporters’ Shield and the heroes’ welcome he and his teammates received upon arriving home from Toronto.
“Landing in Cincinnati at 2 a.m. after beating Toronto, the plane doors open and you can just hear the chanting and celebrating. It’s two in the morning and the airport is full of people. It’s such a special moment,” Vazquez told FCCincinnati.com. “It was a special moment for me, such a special moment for the club and definitely one of those moments I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Vazquez is now off to write the next chapter in his story. While FCC prepares to mount their defense of the Supporters’ Shield, Monterrey begins their Clausura schedule on January 13 against Puebla. While he may not debut immediately, given the ferocity of the pursuit Rayados put in for the striker, it is expected that he will make his first appearance soon.
There is also the chance that Vazquez will return to TQL Stadium in short order. Should both FC Cincinnati and CF Monterrey both advance to the second round of the Concacaf Champions Cup, the two clubs would meet for the first time in a two-match, home-and-away showdown.
Brandon Vazquez is a success story of FC Cincinnati. His future success only continues to shine a brighter light on the club.
“There’s nothing more to say about Cincinnati than it’s special and I love it,” Vazquez said. “I’m very grateful for the past four years of my life here in Cincinnati. I’ve loved this club since day one, so I will always be following wherever I go.”