Grant Wahl asked Coach Bruce Arena to compare his current Galaxy team with the great D.C. United team of 1998 he coached to the Concacaf
Champions Cup and Inter-American Cup titles.
"For me, [D.C.'s] Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno in their prime were as good as any two payers in the history of this league," Arena said. "You could draw the comparison that [Landon] Donovan and [David] Beckham are like that. I think in the goal we're better than any of the D.C. United teams. In the forward positions, Moreno was different: We don't have a forward of that ability. Our back lines were good. D.C. United's was pretty good with Eddie Pope, Jeff Agoos and Carlos Llamosa. They're kind of comparable. In the midfield, it depends on where Landon is, but the midfields of D.C. United were pretty good. ... It's close. The league was different then too, you know."
Is the league better now than in the late 1990s? "I think the American player is much better," Arena said. "I don't think we have the foreign players like the [Carlos] Valderramas and Etcheverrys, but we have a lot of very good international players now. The league's getting younger. Overall it's better. We're playing for the most part on soccer fields, which is better than in the beginning. We have to maybe kind of stay away from as many artificial fields, but the stadiums are being built, there's good support."
Arena coached D.C. United to MLS titles in 1996 and 1997, and a runner-up finish in 1998.