82116_isi_goochlynden_bpi_mw_mancity_sunderland_104.3784208 Matt West/isiphotos.com
Americans Abroad

Lynden Gooch Continues to Perform Well at Sunderland

The 20-year-old attacker backed up his impressive Premier League debut with another strong showing, this time against Middlesbrough. Also, Josh Gatt made Molde's matchday 18—an encouraging sign.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 21, 2016
11:00 AM

Gooch Continues to Impress

The season is still young but the biggest surprise has been the emergence of Santa Cruz, Calif., native Lynden Gooch, who has started both of Sunderland's first two Premier League games. The 20-year-old has impressed as head coach David Moyes has found use for Gooch both on the wings as well as in central midfield. 
Unfortunately for Gooch, Sunderland has lost its first two games and on Sunday it fell to Middlesbrough, which featured Brad Guzan in goal. Sunderland has had a bad habit in recent years of finding a way to avoid relegation with dramatic late-season rallies but its luck will run out one of these years and it must find a way to pick up points early in the season.
Gooch has been one of the team's best players in the first two games but due to the club's consistent flirtations with relegation, he will be under a lot of pressure. 

Wagner Thrives at Huddersfield

On Saturday, Huddersfield found a 90th-minute winner from Jonathan Hogg to defeat Barnsley 2-1. The three points carried the club into first place of the English Championship with 10 points through four games.

Huddersfield has generally been an afterthought in English soccer since it fell out of the top tier in 1972. For the first time in decades there is hope in the West Yorkshire club and that is largely due to its head coach, David Wagner. The former United States international is wildly popular among club supporters who have come up with an expression—"He's better than Klopp" as a reference to Wagner's close relationship with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. The two are best friends, former teammates, and Wagner worked under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. 

Wagner might just find himself in a Premier League promotional hunt while becoming a true rising star in the coaching world. Eric Wynalda all of a sudden seems prophetic when he told ASN in January: "He might end up coming full-circle and coming back to us as the manager of the U.S. national team someday," Wynalda said. "I don't feel like I am going out on a limb there. I think he would be great.”

Maars-Johnsen assists in Hearts debut

Perry Kitchen continues to do a very nice job with Hearts since leaving D.C. United earlier this year. But now there is another American on the team as six-foot-five target forward Bjorn Maars-Johnsen was signed and finally cleared to play. Johnsen, 24, has been intriguing to American fans after putting up terrific numbers in Portugal's second tier and in Bulgaria but now he will be more visible in Scotland.

 In Saturday's game, Johnsen came into the game in the 74th minute with Hearts leading Inverness 3-0. Less than five minutes later, he assisted on Sam Nicholson's goal in what would turn into a 5-1 rout. 
It was a good start and even if the Scottish Premier League has declined in quality the past two decades, Johnsen boasts the sort of physical frame that could provide a tremendous upside.

Josh Gatt Nears Return

On Sunday in Norway, Molde defeated Odd Ballklubb 4-2 in a Tippeligaen match. U.S. national team backup Ethan Horvath started in goal for Molde's winning effort but he was far from the top story for Americans in this game. 
Josh Gatt rose to prominence with Molde and carried his success to the national team but multiple ACL tears have seen him mostly disappear from the game. His last comeback attempt lasted just five minutes before he tore his ACL again. But while he has faded from the spotlight, he has been working extremely hard in rehab, got married, and willed himself back to return to the game. 
Gatt made the 18 in Sunday's game but did get off the bench. It would seem that he is on the verge of yet another return and that would be an amazing accomplishment. The sport of soccer can be cruel and Gatt has been on that end of the equation far more times than he deserves. If he can return and stay there, it would be a fantastic story. 

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