CONMEBOL: Brazil can qualify for World Cup with one more win, Argentina on brink of elimination; WPS looks ahead to 2011

The second stage of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers kicked off Thursday night at Estadio La Cocha in Latacunga, Ecuador. Colombia, looking to make its first-ever World Cup, drew 1-1 with Chile. Colombia scored first on a goal by Yorelli Rincon, her fifth of the tournament. Chile equalized in the second half on a goal from Francisa Lara. In the second game last night, Brazil cruised to a 4-0 win over Argentina, backed by a goal each from Cristiane, Marta, Rosana, and Graziele. Brazil can qualify for the World Cup Friday night if it beats Colombia. The Argentinians will be eliminated if they lose to Chile. If Argentina loses, that sets up a number of scenarios for both Chile and Colombia to become the second South American team to qualify for the World Cup. The final day of the CONMEBOL qualifiers is Sunday.

Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) held a conference call Wednesday afternoon, addressing the media one day after issuing a press release regarding the 2011 WPS season. Tuesday, the WPS confirmed the six teams that will play in 2011 – Atlanta, Boston, Sky Blue FC, Philadelphia, Washington, and the expansion Western New York team. During Wednesday’s conference call, WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas announced the name of the expansion team – the Flash.

She also spoke about FC Gold Pride folding and the financial struggles of the Chicago Red Stars, who have until Dec. 15 to seek investors to secure a place in the WPS 2011 season. “The hurdles we faced challenged us,” Eileraas said, later adding,  “We’re very pleased to be at the point where we’re at right now.”

Atlanta Beat Owner, and CEO and Chairman of the WPS BoG, T. Fitz Johnson said there will be a shorter schedule in 2011. The WPS also said it will take a break during the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Also, several media members asked about two-time WPS MVP Marta, and Thomas Hofstetter, WPS BoG Member & Sky Blue FC President said that Sky Blue doesn’t have the funding to support Marta’s salary. However, Eileraas said that Marta and her agent are looking to see if any other WPS team is interested in signing Marta.