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‘Fearless’ Lynden Gooch pleased with first USMNT performance


As his first U.S. Men’s National Team appearance came to an end, Lynden Gooch lingered a bit. The Sunderland midfielder remained on the field, clapping for the fans in attendance while taking it all in under the RFK Stadium lights. His first camp was over, and in Gooch’s mind, it was a good one.

Gooch made his USMNT debut in Tuesday night’s friendly against New Zealand, logging 31 minutes in what ended as a 1-1 draw. It was a fitting reward to a lengthy 10-day camp, one which saw Gooch join a senior team that he had looked up to since childhood. When it was all over, as he stood on the field clapping, Gooch embraced what felt like a special moment after years of battling for respect for both club and country.

Although his appearance was somewhat brief, the 20-year-old midfielder’s initial reviews were solid. From his introduction, Gooch was one of the USMNT’s more active options, firing cross after cross in from the right side while remaining composed against a tight New Zealand backline. When all was said and done, Gooch only got on the ball a few times, but certainly tried to make the most of each chance to create.

“I think Lynden Gooch confirmed what we saw in training. He’s fearless,” USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann said. “He takes people on and is very physical as well. He doesn’t shy away from physicality. There are a couple of things we saw that we didn’t know before that camp.

“He’s fearless. He’s a very interesting character.”

Gooch says Klinsmann limited his minutes to allow him to get a feel for his debut. The idea was to make sure Gooch didn’t get burnt out in the first of what figures to be many USMNT appearances for the 20-year-old up-and-comer.

Still, Gooch wanted to make sure to take his chance. The midfielder joined a second half that felt “a bit flat”. It was an effort to provide new energy and life to a game that had lost quite a bit.

One noticeable effort, his first action of the game, saw Gooch nearly pick out Jozy Altidore with a cross. The ball flew just over the forward’s head before falling to Julian Green. The Bayern Munich forward’s shot went soaring, but Gooch’s initial USMNT ball was good enough to create a chance.

The midfielder says that, on another day, the U.S. may have scored a winning goal on one of those several late-game chances, but it wasn’t to be. Even with the tie, though, Gooch sees a lot of positives from the result, as well as a 10-day long camp that saw him truly integrate himself with his country’s first team.

“(I was surprised by) just how relaxed it was,” Gooch said of camp. “Professionally, you do what you need to do to prepare yourself and just enjoy yourself being around these experienced players. These were players I’ve looked up to for a long time. It was good. I enjoyed it.

“It was a good camp. I thought I did very well. I worked really hard and tried to make an impact as much as I can. I think I did that. I was a bit disappointed not to play from the start tonight, but as long as I did my job when I went in.”

While Gooch’s attacking efforts were clearly noticed, it was his work ethic that yielded the biggest praise. Despite being a newcomer, Gooch jumped right in and immediately took to the pace of the international game, hustling back and forth in an effort to make an impression.

Michael Bradley said he was impressed by Gooch’s eagerness and commitment throughout the 10-day stint, as the 20-year-old displayed traits that will go a long way towards earning more USMNT looks going forward.

“He’s hard-working going both ways, in terms of his willingness to make things happen,” Bradley said. “When balls turn over, he presses and chases things down. I think it was good for him to get his first taste with this group and now, as it goes for all of our young players and as it goes for everybody, the time is now to go back to club teams and get yourself in a good rhythm right away, get yourself back on the field and put yourself in a position to be in the next group.”

Tuesday, in many ways, was just a start. Gooch now heads back to a Sunderland team that needs him as the season goes on. He’s become an integral part of David Moyes’ squad, and will certainly play in big games as the season wears on.

Internationally, Gooch isn’t sure what to make of his immediate future. He’s not sure if a call-up for the Hexagonal is in the cards, as the U.S. faces off with Mexico and Costa Rica in a pair of pivotal November qualifiers. However, he is confident in Tuesday’s performance, one which he believes left a good first impression for those around the national team.

“I don’t think I did much wrong tonight. I don’t think I showed amazing, but I think I showed what I can do,” Gooch said. “I can score a goal or set up a goal. With the time I had on the pitch, I think I did well.”


  1. Gooch impressed me last night. His technical ability along with the chip he plays with is going to be a fun one to watch going forward. He plays with a physicality without giving up technical ability.
    With the potential that Wood, Pulisic, Gooch, & Green are starting to show the attack looks to be moving in the right direction. As these guys gain more experience and chemistry they should bring a new dynamic to the team.

    Even though it’s early I’m really looking forward to seeing where this new generation of players takes us. With Brooks, CCV, Miazga, & Yedlin we have the makings of a dominating defense. A midfield with a combination of Pulisic, Gooch, Green, Hynaman, Zelalem looks to be very versatile, quick, technical, and possession oriented. Strikers like Wood & Morris are a good combination of versatile, speed, physicality, and ruthlessness. We’re still missing an option at Left Back, a Destroying CDM, and a true target forward….but this is a very enticing starting point for after 2018.

    • Yeah, it’s exciting.

      Plus other young offensive prospects like Kiesewetter, Rubin, Arriola, Perez…

      I wonder if Brandon Vincent can be that young LB, or if Alashe could become that kind of CDM.

      Also, thinking about this has me wondering what ever happened to Junior Flores. He stopped tweeting at the end of last year, and the only real news I’ve heard about him in the last 10 months was concerning him trying to come to MLS on loan.

      • He decided to stay at Dortmund, but I don’t think he even dresses for the U23s. Oh, apparently he has dressed twice, but not seen the pitch.

      • Flores is one of those guys (like Lleget & Garza were) who doesn’t seem to be able to break into his clubs first team. At this point he needs to look at finding a new home….either a lower level team in Europe or come back and try to latch onto a team in MLS or Liga MX.

      • What’s worse is he can’t catch with the U23s its not even that he can’t make the first team. He can’t play in the 4th Division.

    • I don’t think we should forget Morris either. 12 goals in his first pro season is pretty good and you can see his improvement at various points in the season. He has the physical tools and he is getting the experience; he should be a good one.

  2. 1. Lynden Gooch will never be “Gooooooooooch!”

    2. The kid can ball. He seemed more anxious to attack for the US than he does for Sunderland. Maybe it’s tactics or how much leash the coach gives …

    3. Jozy was pretty damn weak. He was also being fouled and let the ref, who had a nightmare match, get into his head. He played well when the ball was coming to him and had good contributions on hold ups, lay offs and dribbles at the D, BUT, when he didn’t get a call for being kicked … then pushed … and other niggling things, he just put his energy into verbal sparring with the ref. I was really surprised he didn’t get a yellow in the 1st half.

    Keepin’ it 100, I would told the ref to ” ____ off” and gotten sent to the showers. The team was overall quite poor last night … almost a waste of a good Tuesday evening watching that ish.

    Why i sthe DCU field so crap? There were divots everywhere!

    • Pretty much this.

      There were a couple bright spots (Gooch and Green), but overall, poor reffing, poor showing for Altidore (he’ll be back), and horrible showing for our midfield as a whole.

      Also, did it not seem like it was a turnover-in-waiting every single time Acosta touched the ball? Home boy needs to chill. He seemed pretty damn amped up lol

  3. Poor Gooch gets a whole article devoted to him and the thread turns into another debate about Jozy. At least he has his own chant already.

    • He’s going to be crushed.

      Please nobody bring this article to his attention.
      We all look really bad and I feel really bad about how bad all of us look, especially when actually we’re good guys, and nice and funny guys, and good at soccer.

  4. There are things I like in soccer and things I don’t like. I like to watch Dortmund play because they are relentless in their attack, putting pressure on the defense continually. One thing I don’t like is when a team goes into the attacking third with a promising attack, then slows it down, then makes a square pass which is pressured so that then there is a back pass which is pressured and what began as a promising attack ends up being a pass back to the attacking team’s goalie. I hate that and we saw it too often with the US vs.New Zealand. If nothing else, play for a cross or service into the middle and hope a forward gets a head on it. I can see the regrouping and back passing happening occasionally, but too often I see it happen because an attacker has no ideas. What I like about Green, Pulisic and now Gooch is that they seem to have the attacking mentality. They want to push the ball forward, attack the defense and put pressure on them. In the coming years I think the US will be considerably improved when all 3 of these players mature a birt and are playing together.

    • This has to do with a lack of MF… In my family we all yell at the TV and tell them they are going THE WRONG WAYYY!!!! [screaming with our hands up]… in stadia in Italy they whistle at teams that do this…

      In this game, you could see how Yedlin and Green were just totally isloated… Orosczo and Acosta were a back pass… but then the midfield support just didn’t come through the middle. Also, Oroszco and Acosta don’t have a vision/sense of that leading pass back to the middle… or they were trying to be too conservative. Not sure… but I had my arms waving. If you don’t have the right guys your 4-3-3 gets overwhelmed. the ball moves too quick, a guy doesn’t properly anticipate where the play is going… and boom the defense has 3 guys out there to your 2… and then it is back passes the wrong way. But this is the B team Yedlin out of position… Kitchen not used to it… Klejstan not used to it… Julian in a wierd position… and new outside backs.

      hopefully some video will be passed along to these guys and they can learn from it.

      Part of it was also NZ playing so direct… our MF was too too stretched because they didn’t trust the CB pairing.

  5. Agree.

    What’s even more frustrating is, he’s improving. His touch is better, he’s lightened up a little and his turns and reflexes seem sharper, and he’s doing a vastly better job playing with his back to goal. He actually does a lot of good things out there nowadays WITH the ball as opposed to just banging 90% of his touches around like his feet were wooden paddles.

    The problem is his work ethic off the ball. Michael Bradley just isn’t wearing off on him. And it REALLY starts to grate when you see him offsides 3-4 times because the opposition advances the ball after a failed attack, the USA then wins the ball back…and Jozy hasn’t troubled himself to get back onsides before the ball was played forwards again.

    There’s low motor, and then there’s Are You Kidding Me. And his constant whining, grimacing, and Perpetual Stankface have gotta wear on his teammates after awhile.

    • To be fair, a lot of stuff probably reminds you of how much you dislike Jozy. Opening your computer, logging on to this site, typing words…all not-so-subtle reminders of that unquenchable Jozy hate that dwells within.

      • BW’s comments were a bit over the top but, in all honesty Jozy was not even trying in the last 20 minutes or so.

      • No exaggeration, I saw him throwing up his arms and arguing with the ref more than actually playing soccer. Very frustrating to watch. Have played soccer all my life like most of you, and have never understood why those types of players put so much energy into complaining while a game is going on. Try winning the ball back instead of throwing a tantrum.

      • DC, I was at the game and I couldn’t agree more. I was telling for JK to take him out at the ’60, to put in either Agudelo or Boyd but in true zjurgen fashion he left him in for another ’10-12. It woukd have been more beneficial to get a look at the 2 aforementioned in a game scenario earlier in the match, considering Jozy is a known quantity and was clearly struggling. It was a lost opportunity in that regard for sure but on the flip side we got to see the emergence of Green and Gooch

      • Man, I don’t know who is having a rougher time, Jozy Altidore for having a terrible game (and compared to manure)….or AMPhibian and DLOA having to defend him lol

      • Bro, all these people disagreeing with me is really stressing me out.
        I just took a shower–crying in the fetal position of course–and found a lot of hair in the drain afterwards (all pubes).
        I’m starting to think maybe I should retreat from my position that Jozy isn’t a lazy cry-baby who isn’t that good.
        Even if I don’t believe that, at least it will stop these relentless attacks that I’m forced to defend against on a daily basis. I want to be the most well loved and popular kid on this site, and sticking with Jozy is starting to get seriously bad for my brand. Not to mention the ceaseless night terrors.

      • Striker for the US is like a starting QB in the NFL. You are fine when you are scoring (winning), but don’t score in two games and suddenly you are the biggest disgrace to the national identity(ask Dempsey after the Colombia game). And the back up (Morris, Wood) will be judged as the greatest thing since sliced bread, until they become the guy that is.

  6. I’ve always been told that only fools are fearless. Of course this was told to me by people that were probably trying to alleviate my crippling shame of frequent cowardice.

    • I would would make sweeping snippy elitist conclusions about your racial-profiling tendencies – and then not apologize – based on your one comment that happens to involve a white guy, but then, you might be a USSF-licensed coach who’s spent several years working with Title I and at-risk kids rather than just drawing a paycheck at a big pay-for-play club because, well, it’s just more rewarding to work with kids who actually want it as opposed to entitled dentist’s kids.

      Oh, wait, that’s me. Apologies. Carry on with your unapologetic white-guy love, and know I’m watching you, and my judgment will be swift and assuredly self-righteous should you show the first sign of latent racism.

      • I’ve read that first sentence at least ten times, and not because I was confused or critical, but because it brought me a lot of joy. It’s really pulsing.

        As much as I want us all to be friends and maybe one day get together and have a big potluck (I’ll bring chips) I enjoy the story lines and drama among the group of SBI commenters way too much.

        I hope you two sort it out of course, but really, no rush.

      • Ok first I thought it was because Altidore played bad , now I don’t know what happened but it looks like “$hit just got real”.
        I know sometimes we all say things that are direct and sometimes hurtful or even act like we are taking notes from Klinsmann himself but at the end of the day lets learn to “agree to disagree” and try that keep it civil and respect each other.
        Difference views, options and passion for the game is what makes SBI something to look forward to…

      • Sorry, I dared dub Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, and Jozy “low-motor” guys and he jumped in calling me racist. Sorry, you can critique a player’s game without being racially disparaging.

        It peeved me. About five years ago I took over a Title I school team because it needed a coach…and I’ve passed on some fairly substantial club paychecks to do it.

        When you’ve put your money where your mouth is, it twists your tail some when some snarky elitist boob jumps in calling you “racist” when you’ve been out in the real world paying your dues…and then doesn’t bother apologizing when it turns out he’s been a boob.

        Probably should have been thicker-skinned about it, sorry, but he’s a long-term poster, I’m a long-term poster…and if you’re part of a community, it’s best to avoid drive-by accusations like that unless you want somebody to take it real personally.

      • I was waiting for Old School and UCLA to start the LD vs JG debate again, but this went a whole different direction. Remember what JK said “Sport brings people together.” Peace, love and football guys.

      • I would would make sweeping snippy elitist conclusions about your racial-profiling tendencies

        Yikes. What is this in reference to?

      • …and then doesn’t bother apologizing when it turns out he’s been a boob.

        Yea, not on SBI. You won’t find many apologies utilized as a form of currency in the name of civility.

        I tend to agree with your assessment on the low-motor nature of the players referenced and would give DLOA the benefit of doubt that he may have misspoke or not intended to be so divisive. He can be feisty (as we all can), but usually it’s within reason.

        Admittedly, I’m just a bit surprised the center of an asshole-storm doesn’t involve me for once. Nice feeling, but tomorrow is a new day.

    • I think quozzel is overreacting, but it’s understandable that he feels accused by you.

      You made a quip that implied that his comment/take sounded racist.

      It was wrong to make that assumption with so little to go on. Plus in my opinion, quozzel implied at the end of that comment that Wondo fits into the same “low motor” category.

      Your reply was maybe meant to be a bit tongue in cheek, but you still should say you’re sorry, if you are.


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