Alexi Lalas ranks 5 greatest USMNT kits of all time

Like many USMNT fans on Thursday, Alexi Lalas had feedback for Nike on the just-released United States’ 2022 World Cup kits.

“We, the United States, have a built-in appearance,” the former USMNT defender said on his podcast, “State of the Union.”

“We are red, white and blue. We are Stars and Stripes. And I think no matter who it is, whether it’s the soccer team or somebody else, we should lean into that, and we should take pride in that … it designs itself to a certain extent. Be big, be bold, be red, white and blue, be Stars and Stripes, be over the top. But most importantly, be memorable.”

Alexi Lalas reacts to U.S. kits

Alexi Lalas offers his review of the USMNT’s jerseys for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

So what USMNT kits are memorable to Lalas? Here are his top five.

[Why Nike isn’t worried about reaction to new USMNT World Cup kits]

5. 1950 home kit

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The United States wore this kit at the 1950 World Cup, the first World Cup since 1938 because the 1942 and 1946 World Cups were canceled due to World War II. The USMNT wore it again in 2004 as their third kit to pay homage to the 1950 team.

“I love the history of it,” Lalas said. “Yes, it’s a little bit plain, but’s it distinctive. And the crest is just … chef’s kiss.”

4. Dos a cero (2002 home)

(Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Made famous by the United States’ 2-0 win over Mexico at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, this kit represents the Golden Age of the men’s team.

“It’s got a classic sort of appearance, and you can’t take away the fact that this is the most successful in men’s soccer history and this what they were ultimately wearing.”

3. The Waldos (2012 home)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Upon its release, the USMNT’s 2012 home kit was compared to Martin Handford’s children’s puzzle book character Wally, or Waldo, as he’s more commonly know as in the United States.

“When you saw this on the field, you knew exactly who was playing,” Lalas said. “It’s not that there haven’t been stripes or horizontal stripes out there, but for the U.S., this was something that was memorable.”

2. The Bomb Pops (2014 home)

(Photo by Alex Livesey – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The tiered red, white and blue design of the USMNT’s 2014 home kit was reminiscent of the Bomb Pop, a popular frozen treat in the United States that was invented in 1955. The USMNT most famously wore it against Ghana at the 2014 World Cup.

“There is nothing more American and Americana than the actual bomb pop,” Lalas said. “I love them and I love what they represent, so there was this connection to something American.” 

1. The Denim Kit (1994 home)

(Photo credit Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty Images)

As if there was ever any doubt. Though the denim kit received its fair share of criticism when it was unveiled in 1994, it has become one of the most recognizable jerseys in American soccer.

“It almost should have its separate category, because everything I talked about, everything that I desire and everything I want from a jersey is the 1994 home,” Lalas said. “I don’t think there has ever been a more inspired type of American jersey regardless of what sport you’re talking about. 

“It was Stars and Stripes, red, white and blue, and you knew exactly who was on the field. It has grown into something bigger than it even was at the time.”

You can watch the “State of the Union” podcast on YouTube or subscribe on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.

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