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WATCH: Lynden Gooch scores game winner for Sunderland

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The American is off to a fast start in League One.

Everton v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Sunderland opened the 2018-2019 EFL League One season with a dramatic 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic at the Stadium of Light. Lynden Gooch headed in a last gasp cross from Bryan Oviedo in the 96th minute to clinch the victory:

Gooch missed the first opportunity to earn three points, whiffing on a volley off the corner. However, he stayed with the play and ultimately latched onto Oviedo’s perfectly floated ball to the back post. That kind of persistence is sorely needed by a Sunderland club that has seen better days.

“The club’s gone through a rough time the past few years, and I’ve been here a long time, so it means a lot to everyone,” Gooch said after the match. “The manager’s been really good with everyone, he’s been really upbeat and changed the mood of the place. You can see it with the fans. It’s a Premier League club, we need to get back, and he’s doing everything he can.”

Sunderland desperately needs a good season to stop its precipitous decline. The Black Cats were relegated from the Premier League at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season and from the Championship last season. Sunderland returns to action next Saturday when they play Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

Gooch recently stated his intent to stay with Sunderland until the club returns to the Premier League, but his current contract expires at the conclusion of this season. It’s possible he could be a key piece of two redemption projects, both at the club and international level. The 22-year-old California native has earned four caps with the United States Men’s National Team, with the most recent appearance coming in May’s 3-0 friendly win over Bolivia.