Like Lalas or not, he happens to be a bright guy and knows how to entertain, and not just talk about soccer. He's definitely a bit of a showman. But, better that, i think, than someone knowledgeable but boring.
As for knowing anything about European soccer, Lalas was the first American in the modern era to have played in Italy's Serie A (first division) for Padova from 1994 in to early 1996.
He even scored several goals off of set pieces against A.C. Milan and FC Milan (Inter).
Very few Americans get to play in Serie A. The other who comes to mind is Michael Bradley.