MIAMI – Making the most of the opportunities he's given, 18-year-old Brandon Vazquez was one of the brightest spots for Atlanta United FC in their 3-2 loss Wednesday to NASL side Miami FC at Riccardo Silva Stadium.
The right winger seemed to always be at the right place at the right time throughout the game, and scored the game's first goal in the 35th minute when he rose above Miami FC defender Mason Trafford to head home a beautiful free kick from Kevin Kratz, tucking it inside the near post.
With three goals and two assists so far this season in all competitions, Vazquez has been highly productive since his MLS debut on April 22 on the road at Real Salt Lake. It was Vazquez's game-winner in the 73rd minute versus the Charleston Battery in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup that clinched Atlanta's ticket to the Round 16.
"I'm always looking to do what is best for the team," said Vazquez of his recent form for Atlanta. "I always try to make the best of any opportunity, if I see one, I'll take it."
Throughout the night, Vazquez caused havoc down the right side for Miami FC, keeping defenders Blake Smith and Gabriel Farfan busy all night on the defensive end. With eight games in MLS and Open Cup play under his belt, Vazquez's confidence continues to grow with every game he plays.
"We've seen great progression [by Vazquez] these last few months," said Atlanta United FC's head coach Tata Martino. "He's grown tremendously as a player, he's done very well in the last few MLS matches and we are very happy with his progress."
Beating Miami FC's Smith in a one-on-one play that ended in a sizzling volley by teammate Andrew Carleton was just one of the examples of Vazquez's growth. Getting the ball wide in the attacking third, Vazquez was able to fool Smith into thinking he was going wide, then instead cutting inside to find the streaking Carleton.
"Tata always tells us to be confident," added Vazquez. "That's exactly what I've been doing."
The boost in confidence is not being unnoticed by Martino.
"He's done very well in all the matches he's played this season," said Martino. "We are very happy with his progression and because of that you will begin to see him playing more frequently."