Alexi Lalas has had his fair share of memorable soccer moments. The now 47-year-old played in the MLS from the mid-90s until the mid-2000s. He also played on the United States Men’s National Team from 1991-1998, scoring nine goals in 96 matches, including four games during the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States.

But Lalas has been retired for 13 years and is now a broadcaster for FOX Sports after spending some time at ESPN.

This past Sunday, Sept. 10, Lalas was calling the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy game. During said game, Lalas began talking about the current men on the USMNT and wasn’t exactly speaking highly of the players.

“It’s dark days, indeed, but this is a time for leaders to step up,” Lalas started with. “And so to the supposed leaders, I will say this….

“Tim Howard. Tim, the Belgium game ended three years ago. We need you to save the ball now. Geoff Cameron. Clean it up, or let’s get someone who will.

“Clint Dempsey. Yeah, you’re a national team legend; now we need you to be a national team leader.

“Michael Bradley. The U.S. does not need you to be zen, the U.S. needs you to play better. Jozy Altidore. Is this really as good as it gets? Because it’s still not good enough.”

The rant came after the US has already lost to Costa Rica and tied Honduras this month in its quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The US didn’t play well at all, but to say what Lalas did is a little much.

Right now, the USMNT is on the brink of being eliminated from CONCACAF qualifying, and if that happens, they will have to play in a playoff game against either Australia or Syria in November to qualify for the World Cup next year.

Anyway, back to Lalas. The former USMNT star didn’t just criticize the players, he also went after the coaches.

“Bruce Arena. Jurgen Klinsmann lost at home to Mexico. You lost at home to Costa Rica. This is now all on you, not Jurgen,” Lalas added.

One notable name that Lalas hadn’t mentioned at this point was 18-year-old Christian Pulisic who is currently playing for Broussia Dortmund in Germany as well as the USMNT. Eventually, Lalas did make his way to Pulisic.

“And, oh, by the way, to all the guys that I didn’t mention, it’s because you don’t even warrant a mention. That includes you too, Wonder Boy.”

Lalas then finished his tirade with a cherry on top.

“So, what are you guys going to do?” Lalas said. “Are you going to continue to be a bunch of soft, underperforming, tattooed millionaires? You are a soccer generation that has been given everything; you are a soccer generation who’s on the verge of squandering everything.

“So now it’s time to pay it back. Make us believe again. You don’t owe it to yourselves, you owe it to us.”

Not everyone was happy with Lalas’ rant either. ESPN analyst and former member of the USMNT Herculez Gomez called him a “showman.”

“To me this feels like a cop-out,” Gomez said on the Max & Herc Podcast. “It’s over the top from Alexi. He’s pandering, he’s playing to the crowd.

“Is everything Alexi Lalas said wrong? No. Alexi is on to something. … You definitely have to hold players accountable.”

You can watch the entire speech here.

[ESPN FC]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.

  • inku palios

    If Alexi Lalas is so unhappy with the National team, coach the team then. Honestly, Mr. Alas doesn’t remember that he made a mess with the Los Angeles Galaxy.