Soccer legend on Team USA opener: "This was a tale of two teams"

U.S. men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann has attempted to remake the way his team has always played soccer - defensive, relying on the counterattack for goals - into a more proactive style.

While that happened for a little more than 30 seconds in the team's opening 2014 World Cup match against Ghana, when captain Clint Dempsey netted a quick goal, the team spent most of the rest of the match on its heels.

cobi jones
Cobi Jones on May 2, 2014, in Century City, California.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

"The way that the U.S. team played was ... a tale of two teams you could say," U.S. soccer legend Cobi Jones told CBS News. "Once you get up, it's your natural tendency to fall back and play very defensive."

That all changed, however, when Andre Ayew of Ghana tied the score in the 82nd minute.

"The thing I liked about the team that did fall into what Jurgen Klinsmann had to say is that when they did give up the goal and it was tied up in the game, the U.S. didn't sit back and say, 'OK, we're going to get out of here with a point.' They continued to push forward and go for it and create chances, and that's how John Anthony Brooks scored on the corner."

Next up for the Americans is Portugal, which features the world's best player. The game against Ghana was a triumph for the U.S. - a "top 10" all-time game - but may not offer them many lessons for taking on the Portuguese.

"No matter how good the players were on the Ghanaian team, none of them compare to Cristiano Ronaldo," Jones said.

Jones, who is the all-time leader in appearances for the U.S. men's soccer team, played against Brazil's Ronaldinho during the height of that particular all-time great's rein atop the soccer world. He said there's really only one thing you can do when playing against the Ronaldos and Ronaldinhos of soccer.

"The strength he had, and his ability to keep the ball close to him ... that one-on-one situation is not going to work for you defensively. You needed that extra support," Jones said.

Jones told CBS News that the weather and injuries will also be a concern for the U.S. in the Portugal game. Jones visited the Amazon-based city of Manaus recently, the site of the next game, and he described it as incredibly hot. With the U.S. team seeming to struggle in the less humid and slightly cooler air during the Ghana game, they still have their work cut out for them.

Comments