Played For Mls Team
After again playing for a disappointing U.S. team at the Summer Olympics in 1996, Lalas was asked to leave Padua to become one of the faces for the MLS in its first season. This was the first professional soccer league in America in a number of years, and having a high profile player like Lalas would bring attention to the young league. He agreed, and was assigned to the New England Revolution. Lalas explained to Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune, "I wanted to do something for football back home. I didn't want to have the feeling later that I had sat back and done nothing."
While Lalas had a decent season on a poor Revolution team in 1996, the 1997 and 1998 seasons were even worse for both his professional and U.S. national team play. In 1997, he was benched on the U.S. team. Lalas continued to struggle in 1998 when he was traded to the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars. Though this team made the playoffs, it was the first time Lalas did not register an assist in the season. He was also on the U.S. national team in World Cup competition that year, but only as a reserve and never played in the tournament, in which the American team faired poorly.