Brandon Vazquez earns first cap with USMNT | "It's an honor to be part of this group"

20221001 FCCvsCHI Match 063

It’s been 38 days since Argentina claimed a third World Cup against France at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. And while the celebrations are surely ongoing in Argentina, the U.S. Men’s National Team have already begun preparations for the 2026 tournament, which will be held on home soil.

Twenty-four players were called into the first USMNT camp of the 2026 FIFA World Cup cycle including FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez. Vazquez joins teammate and goalkeeper Roman Celentano in Southern California for his first senior team call-up.

Vazquez, who is in the Starting XI for tonight’s International Friendly against Serbia, will have the chance to showcase his knack for finding the back of the net in his first senior cap for the U.S. The match kicks off at 10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on HBO Max, Universo, Peacock and the Telemundo App.

In the process, Vazquez will become the first player in FC Cincinnati history to earn a cap with the USMNT.

Following a breakout 2022 campaign with the Orange and Blue, Vazquez’s name was consistently discussed as a name to watch out for as the 2022 FIFA World Cup approached. While ultimately his name was not called, he is now part of the first USMNT camp ahead of, arguably, the most crucial buildup ever to a World Cup for the men’s national team.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Vazquez in a press conference open to national soccer media earlier this week. “Last year, I was doing everything possible to get into the World Cup roster. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but you have to be able to shake it off. That’s what I’m doing now, a fresh start.”

Vazquez is no stranger to the international stage, having appeared for the United States U-17, U-19 and U-20 teams in his youth career. He scored two goals in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“The camaraderie between some of the guys in the squad is the same as it has always been,” Vazquez said. “It’s been seven or eight years since we all last played together but it’s all the same. The friendships are all the same and it’s always a lot of fun coming back together.”

Vazquez enjoyed a breakout 2022 with FC Cincinnati, scoring 18 goals in 33 regular season appearances, and will look to bring that same scoring form to a young but talented roster of players.

“You can tell the quality of the group, the quality of every player, is world class. It’s an honor to be a part of this group and I’ve been adapting to the group around me.”

After four days of training, the squad shifts its attention to tonight’s friendly against Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, the first match for the men’s national team since facing the Netherlands in the Round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Despite new faces on the roster and plenty of unknowns with the future of the USMNT on the sidelines, the objective is the same for Vazquez and his teammates.

“We look for the same style of play, regardless of who’s in right now. We’re trying to push ourselves to be the best team possible and the vibe in the locker room is great. Every time we step on the field you can see that the team chemistry is there even though there are a lot of new faces.

“The only thing I’m focused on right now is doing my best for the team and scoring as many goals as possible. I think if I step onto the field and do my job there, the rest will come.”

The camp will conclude with a second friendly against Columbia on Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Vazquez and Celentano will then rejoin FC Cincinnati in preseason training in Clearwater, Fla. to prepare for the start of the 2023 MLS season.