Why USMNT standout Brandon Vazquez would possibly choose to play for Mexico


That was Brandon Vázquez’s secret weapon final season. He began devouring them earlier than video games and stacked a career-high 18 objectives for FC Cincinnati, double the full from his first 5 MLS seasons mixed.

Hotcakes so fueled his sizzling play the workforce organized for them to be accessible at pregame meals on all journeys and a sponsorship cope with a flapjack-mix firm almost led to some additional dough. At house, he and his girlfriend would stroll to the Sleepy Bee Cafe for the plain buttermilks on match days.

However the night time earlier than his nationwide workforce debut this week he was working a fever so all he may abdomen was oatmeal. Irrespective of. He scored on a header within the twenty ninth minute, the Individuals’ solely purpose in a 2-1 loss to Serbia.

So, is it time to alter the eating regimen?

“I don’t think like that. I’m not superstitious,” he stated Friday afternoon as he prowled the streets of Redondo Seaside on the lookout for a espresso store — presumably one which served pancakes. “If having a fever means [I’ll] score every game, it doesn’t feel good at all. So maybe not.”

Vázquez, 24, does have a option to make, although it’s not essentially meals associated. He was born in Chula Vista, in sight of the Mexican border his mother and father crossed to offer a greater life for his or her household, and, as a twin nationwide, he’s eligible to play for both nationwide workforce. Wednesday’s recreation, a pleasant, didn’t tie Vázquez to the U.S. and the identical is true of Saturday’s matinee match with Colombia at a sold-out Dignity Well being Sports activities Park.

However sooner or later, he’ll have to select both Mexico or the U.S. and, not like selecting between pancakes and a fever for his pregame preparation, this selection is tough as a result of he has nice affinity for each nations.

His mom and father are from Guadalajara and Vázquez’s first soccer shirt was a Chivas jersey. His first language was Spanish, he ate little else however Mexican meals (no pancakes) at house and he began his profession within the academy system with Tijuana of Mexico’s Liga MX.

However when Mexico left him off its roster for the CONCACAF U-17 championship in 2015, he joined an American workforce that featured Luca de la Torre, Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Haji Wright, all of whom performed for the U.S. in final month’s World Cup in Qatar.

Vázquez believes he ought to have been with them. As an alternative, he was by no means known as into camp.

“I felt like I had done everything to put myself in the best position to go, but of course, it’s out of my control,” he stated. “Now this year, starting fresh, I just wanted to step on the field and do what I know how to do best, and that’s score goals. I’ll let my play do the talking for me, you know?”

Up to now, that plan appears to be working, together with his senior worldwide debut drawing rave critiques.

U.S. ahead Brandon Vázquez, middle, celebrates after scoring towards Serbia in a global pleasant match at BMO Stadium on Wednesday.

(Ashley Landis / Related Press)

“I was really impressed with him,” interim U.S. coach Anthony Hudson stated of Vázquez. “He made some really good runs in the box. He got into some good areas. I was really pleased.”

Hudson’s job now’s to persuade Vázquez — and different twin nationals corresponding to Mexican-American ahead Alejandro Zendejas — that his future is with the U.S. However in the end, the coach stated, it’s Vázquez’s selection and hounding him about it wouldn’t make it any simpler.

“All we can do is do our best to put on a professional camp, prepare the team well. Make them feel special, help them understand what it means to represent this national team and who we are, make them feel included in the group,” Hudson stated. “We really like him. We value him. I’d love if he chose to come to us.

“But we certainly won’t be putting any pressure on him.”

And Vázquez says he doesn’t really feel any as a result of he doesn’t should make that call proper now. Within the meantime, he’s concentrating on taking part in nicely sufficient to be needed.

“What’s only on my mind right now is performing well every time I step on the field,” he stated. “All the other stuff, I’m taking every step at a time, enjoying the moment. I’m trying not to think about what’s going to happen in the future. I’m just enjoying the process.”

There are some elements that would weigh within the U.S. workforce’s favor although. On Dec. 12, Vázquez married Jessica Fleck, whom he started relationship throughout his second MLS season with Atlanta United. He stated his rapport with teammates can also be necessary and since he’s by no means performed for Mexico, that will look like one other mark within the U.S. column.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” he stated. “But for sure having teammates that you have good chemistry with is probably the most important part.”

Then there’s the key weapon: pancakes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had pancakes in Mexico,” Vázquez stated.