It would appear that dreams of representing the United States again are as far away as ever for the Sunderland winger. As things stand, he is just not putting himself in that particular mix.
The Black Cats could do with seeing him find a spark and delivering a timely reminder to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter that he does still exist. They do not need him to be kicking the door open, but a gentle knock would be a step in the right direction.
Lee Johnson’s side are desperate to bring an unwelcome spell in League One to a close at the four-year mark. Things are looking positive for the side, however, with the football betting on Space Casino having them as 69/50 shots to secure promotion this season and become upwardly mobile once more. At this rate, Sunderland may well be sitting in the Championship once again.
It was great to have you back yesterday… 😍🏟 pic.twitter.com/KTPIVvf41R— Stadium of Light (@StadiumOfLight) August 8, 2021
If those steps are to be taken, then certain individuals are quite literally going to have to lead from the front. Forwards score goals, goals win games, wins deliver points and points mean prizes.
However, Sunderland’s reputation continues to count for little as they rub shoulders with Lincoln and MK Dons rather than Liverpool and Manchester United.
Who will deliver?
In order for a first positive step back down the road that leads to the Premier League to be taken, someone is going to have to stand up and deliver the goods for the Black Cats. A cutting edge will be required to slice through the obstacles blocking their path.
Gooch knows as well as anybody, having been on the club’s books since 2012, how high expectations are on Wearside and that Sunderland really need to start pulling their weight. He is in a position to do something about that.
Prolific exploits in the final third have never really been his thing, with double figures reached just once in the goal department, but he does bring useful qualities to any given cause. His quick feet on the flanks can, on his day, make the diminutive wingman a tricky customer to contain. Unfortunately for him, the end product has dried up.
Gooch registered five goals and 13 assists across all competitions last season but made just one solitary effort across both departments in his first 10 appearances of the 2021-22 campaign. He does not need telling that more is demanded of him.
It is always going to be difficult for the California native to catch the eye of those back in his homeland while thrashing around in the third tier of English football, especially with the US unearthing some exciting talent, but he does not need to be out of sight and mind.
The last of four caps for his country were earned back in 2018, but it remains to be seen whether a fifth will ever be handed out.