Panayotis Alexander “Alexi” Lalas is a retired American soccer player who played mostly as a defender. Lalas is best known for his participation with the United States men’s national soccer team in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where he was a standout player on the team with his distinctive long beard and hair. After the World Cup, Lalas went on to become the first American in Italy’s Serie A as a member of Calcio Padova. Lalas would later return to the United States in 1996 to take part in the newly formed Major League Soccer, as a member of New England Revolution. Lalas also played with Club Sport Emelec of Ecuador, and the MLS squads MetroStars and Kansas City Wizards, but his most successful period was with Los Angeles Galaxy, with whom he won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup before retiring in 2002. Lalas’ playing style was characterized by physical ability and endurance.
Match Worn & Signed Shirt
Did you Know?
The Galaxy finished their sixth MLS season with a record of 14-7-5 (.635), good for 47 points and first place in the Western Division and the third-best overall record in the league. The first place finish marked the fourth time the club has finished atop its division or conference. Despite a slow start, losing their first two matches of the season, the Galaxy battled back and finished the season on a high note, winning seven of its last nine games. At the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles finished tied for the third-best home record in the MLS at 9-3-1 (.731). They also had the third-best record on the road with a 5-4-4 mark (.538). The Galaxy led the Western Division with a record of 7-3-0. Los Angeles also attained three milestones in 2001, their 300th goal, 100th victory and 1,000th point.
Things to Know:
Lalas earned 96 caps, scoring nine goals, with the U.S. National Team between 1991 and 1998. His first cap came in a 2–2 tie with Mexico on March 12, 1991 in the 1991 NAFC Championship. He gained his second cap four days later in a 2-0 win over Canada. While he became a fixture on the team through the rest of 1993, he did not cement his position as a starter in the U.S. central defense until the beginning of 1994. He went on to start and play all ninety minutes in the four U.S. games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was named an honorable mention All-Star. On June 11, 1995, Lalas flew directly from a relegation playoff game with his club team, Padova, in order to appear in the second half of a 1995 U.S. Cup victory over Nigeria. His contributions to the national team led to his selection as the 1995 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. While Lalas was on the roster for the U.S. at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he never entered a game. His last cap had come in the final U.S. tuneup for the finals, a May 30, 1998 scoreless tie with Scotland where he was a second-half substitute for Earnie Stewart. Lalas was selected as one of three over age players on the U.S. Olympic teams at both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics.
Did you Know?
Lalas has a noted affinity for rock music. He played in a band called “The Gypsies” ever since college, which even opened European concerts for Hootie & The Blowfish in 1998. The Gypsies were featured in self-produced, self-distributed album Woodland, released by Lalas during the 1994 World Cup, and Lalas has also released three solo albums: Ginger (1998), Far from Close (2008) and Infinity Spaces (2014).