Former US men’s soccer team member Alexi Lalas, whom many Americans recognize from the 1994 World Cup, is a staple on FOX Sports programming for all things soccer. He joined the network in 2015 as a lead studio and game analyst.
So, of course, Lalas has seen some air time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Ahead of the US match against England on Friday, Lalas had some fiery thoughts to share:
“This is a moment of opportunity,” Lalas said. “You know, Rob Stone [his broadcast partner], that in America we are used to being the biggest and the baddest and the best in everything — even sports.
“When it comes to soccer, our US Women’s National Team, they are the best. When it comes to our US Men’s National Team, they aren’t. So tonight is that opportunity to make us believe that we can be.
“And you know what? The opponent does matter. It matters that it’s England. It has to be England. We get to shed that insecurity that we have, that inferiority complex that we have. We have to stop apologizing for what we are — or what we aren’t. We plant that American flag against that country that we have so much history with, on and off the field. ... If you’re gonna go down, you go down swinging tonight. You grab ahold of that opportunity and you make us proud. That is the American way. That’s the American team I want to see tonight.”
Lalas’s pre-game speech referenced — among other things — the importance of the match for the US men. A win or draw with England greatly increases the Americans’ chance of advancing out of Group B in the tournament.
"IF YOU'RE GONNA GO DOWN, YOU GO DOWN SWINGING TONIGHT. YOU GRAB AHOLD OF THAT OPPORTUNITY AND YOU MAKE US PROUD. THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY. THAT'S THE AMERICAN TEAM I WANT TO SEE TONIGHT!" 🇺🇸@AlexiLalas will have you ready to run through a wall after this @USMNT hype speech😤 pic.twitter.com/PV8kWC4Eu8— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 25, 2022
While his speech might’ve fired up some. It did not impress a lot of folks on Twitter, who took no time at all to respond with their annoyance with Lalas.
Putting Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carli Lloyd and Alexi Lalas on the same stage is so chaotic by FOX. You have two beloved legends and the other two who divide the country every time they open their mouth…😂🇺🇸— Hannah Hoefs (@hhoefs22) November 25, 2022
Alexi Lalas: This is Revolutionary War dammit!— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) November 25, 2022
Kelly Smith: Who cares? It’s just another game for England.
Alexi Lalas must be immediately tried for crimes against humanity at The Hague— Alex Shephard (@alex_shephard) November 25, 2022
I’ve never liked Alexi Lalas…great player, terrible takes, bad showman. US soccer pool for commentary is so thin though.— Tarnished (@rootofwisdom) November 25, 2022
Abolish Alexi Lalas— Max Berger (@maxberger) November 25, 2022
Whether or not there was consensus about the quality of Lalas’s speech, it was clear to most how it was supposed to make US fans feel heading into the game against England.