Sunderland Echo writer James Copley was left impressed by Lynden Gooch’s performance against Coventry City.
The American lined up at right wing-back as the Black Cats made their long-awaited return to Championship action on Sunday.
His deep delivery to the back post was met by Jack Clarke after Sky Blues goalkeeper Simon Moore came and missed the cross as the new permanent arrival headed home to give the hosts the lead inside 12 minutes.
However, given how the game went, Sunderland could perhaps have no complaints when their guests finally carved out an equaliser with six minutes of normal time remaining as Viktor Gyokeres drove a shot past Anthony Patterson to earn a share of the spoils.
Having played the full 90 minutes in their final pre-season friendly with Hartlepool United, it was perhaps expected that Trai Hume would continue on the right for Alex Neil’s side.
But it was Gooch chosen and he was awarded a 7/10 for his performance by James Hunter in the Chronicle, having provided an ‘excellent cross’ for the goal.
Speaking on The Roar podcast immediately following Sunday’s game, Copley said: “Lynden Gooch, although his inclusion raised a few eyebrows given Trai Hume’s performance against Hartlepool and in pre-season – Gooch obviously getting the assist for the goal – I thought he was excellent.”
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Only three players in a Sunderland shirt had more touches than Gooch on the day (SofaScore) and his two key passes were only bettered by Alex Pritchard (3).
He made one clearance, two interceptions and two tackles in what was an all-around display from the versatile four-cap USA ace, and his 7.4 SofaScore rating for the day ranked him second in the side – only behind goalscorer Clarke as he clearly justified his opening weekend selection.