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U.S. must improve or be left behind

Updated: July 19, 2011, 9:52 AM ET
By Leander Schaerlaeckens | ESPN.com

NEW YORK CITY -- The team bus pulled around the corner and up to a swanky hotel off Times Square on Monday afternoon. It took all of a dozen cops to keep a rapturous crowd out of the bus's path. Abby Wambach turned to her teammates. "Guys, this is awesome," gushed the star striker, whose has become as iconic in women's soccer as Brandi Chastain.

Coming straight from the trans-Atlantic flight, the players stepped off the bus and into a whooping cauldron absent from their ...

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