Alexi Lalas can't help himself! Ex-USMNT star links Folarin Balogun decision to polarizing head coach Gregg Berhalter
- Balogun announced decision on Tuesday
- Lalas reacted with post about Berhalter
- Predictably received strong response
WHAT HAPPENED? Lalas called Balogun's commitment to the USMNT "another feather in Gregg Berhalter’s cap" - suggesting the 2022 World Cup head coach helped secure the striker despite being out of contract since December. He knew what he was doing, of course, and a wave of Berhalter critics soon filled his mentions.
While Berhalter led the USMNT to the knockouts in Qatar, his feud with winger Gio Reyna and tactical decisions made him unpopular among some fans.
Another feather in Gregg Berhalter’s cap.🇺🇸⚽️ https://t.co/hEKX54BLbB— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) May 16, 2023
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While his comment was likely meant to be humorous and provocative, Lalas actually has a point. One of the most successful aspects of Berhalter's tenure was an increased focus on convincing dual-nationals to join the Stars and Stripes. He may not have been the one to close the deal with Balogun specifically, but he no doubt influenced the blueprint for recruiting him.
Berhalter is technically still in the running for the open USMNT head coach job, but Jesse Marsch is currently expected to receive the first offer.
WHAT NEXT? Lalas will no doubt have plenty to say about Balogun in his next U.S. Soccer podcast. The striker could debut for the USMNT as soon as this summer, with CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup games ahead.
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