On a night when a fairly experimental USMNT side by and large failed to impress, the FC Cincinnati striker entered for the New York Red Bulls’ John Tolkin in the 82nd minute and made the difference just six minutes later, sniffing out a loose ball in the Reggae Boyz’ penalty box after the islanders failed to properly deal with a Jesus Ferreira cross two minutes from full time.
Philadelphia Union center back Damion Lowe gave Jamaica the lead with 13 minutes gone, stretching out to thump a free header past Matt Turner after the US failed to execute an offside trap on a Demarai Gray set-piece delivery. Lowe had already ridden his luck by that point, receiving a yellow card from referee César Arturo Ramos for a high boot on James Sands just three minutes after kickoff with the USMNT sideline baying for a straight red.
Vazquez’s leveler saved the Yanks from what would’ve been just their second-ever loss in the Gold Cup’s group phase. Turner, too, deserves ample credit for the result, considering he saved a Leon Bailey penalty kick just shy of the half-hour mark after Columbus Crew midfielder Aidan Morris, who struggled heavily in the first half, was whistled for a foul in the Yanks’ box.
Both sides return to action in a Group A doubleheader at CITYPARK in St. Louis on Wednesday.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Was this result an impugnment of the USMNT's player-pool depth, or a sign of talented Jamaica's progress under Heimir Hallgrímsson? The scoreline will frustrate the Reggae Boyz, who remain winless in eight matches under their Icelandic manager, while the performance gives B.J. Callaghan and the Yanks plenty to chew on in the coming days.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The US created a range of chances on the night, but it took the clinical poaching of Vazquez to beat Jamaica and Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake and save the host nation's blushes.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Brandon Vazquez made all the difference, staking his claim for a starting role in the USMNT's next match.
- USA: Wednesday, June 28 vs. St. Kitts and Nevis (10 pm ET) | Gold Cup Group A
- JAM: Wednesday, June 28 vs. Trinidad and Tobago (7:30 pm ET) | Gold Cup Group A