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The U.S.’ attack problem: How the scars of Sweden obscure Wambach’s loss

The scars may feel like they’ve healed, but really, scars never do. At least, not fully so. They’re scars because you can see them, feel them, wonder what you were like before. They’re tough. They stretch. They push back, it seems, when you rub your fingers across them. In their reflections, and their absences from the pictures you took before, they remind you that, at one point, you were broken.

The scars on the U.S. national team came in Brazil, from a single counter attack, with the wound made worse by a failed penalty shootout loss. Now, when somebody says the word “Sweden,” you know exactly what they’re talking about. It’s the game that kept the U.S. from a major tournament’s semifinals. It’s the game that put the program’s progress in doubt …

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