Tensions escalated in the race to avoid relegation in Argentina's Clausura, while a fledgling Brazilian table began to take shape as Corinthians took the lead alongside Palmeiras. USA's Major League Soccer was impacted by international call-ups and injuries, but two western conference teams managed to overcome the absences. FIFA.com takes a look at this action and more in the Americas.
Argentina: High tension in the lower zone
The fight among those attempting to avoid relegation heated up over the weekend in the Clausura. River Plate, who drew 1-1 with Colon (Santa Fe) at home on Sunday, were fortunate to have left the promotion area thanks to an Olimpo stumble against Arsenal on Friday. Elsewhere, Huracan won their first game in nine matches, defeating Tigre 3-2. However, despite the result Huracan are still in jeopardy of having to validate their place in the first division. The result complicated things for Gimnasia La Plata and left Quilmes barely surviving, after both teams drew their respective matches against Racing Club and Boca Juniors. In matches that will have a direct impact on the title race, leaders Velez Sarsfield host third place Godoy Cruz, while second place Lanus visit Independiente today.
Brazil: Frustrations dull farewell celebration
Long-standing rivals Flamengo and Corinthians played to a 1-1 draw at Engenhao stadium, and while the result frustrated the hosts it notably served as a farewell to Serbian midfielder Dejan Petkovic. The 38-year-old enjoyed a long and successful career in Brazil and is remembered for a heroic 89th minute free-kick goal that sealed the 2001 state championship for Flamengo. Although Petkovic had not played a key role for the club since their 2009 title run, the club honoured the playmaker with a start and commemorative plaque.
Petkovic’s send off provided an element of joy in an otherwise disappointing result for Flamengo. Corinthians, who scored first through Willian, moved on to seven points with the draw and are now joint-leaders with Palmeiras. A Renato Abreu free-kick goal salvaged the draw for Flamengo, but the result dropped them down to ninth place.
Finally, Fluminense were boosted by a Rafael Moura brace and defeated Cruzeiro 2-1. The win leapfrogged the troubled title-holders into eighth place over Flamengo. Atletico-MG and Sao Paulo are set to meet on Wednesday and have the opportunity to oust Corinthians and Palmeiras at the top with a win.
USA: Shutouts, disputes and absences
Gold Cup call-ups and rising injuries depleted MLS squads of attacking talent over the weekend, weakening production on the goal front. FC Dallas rose to the occasion in the absence of injured-star David Ferreira, though, seeing off New England Revolution with a lone goal from Marvin Chavez. The win extended the Texans' unbeaten run to nine games and saw Kevin Hartman earn his 100th career shutout. Dallas are just five points behind Western Conference leaders LA Galaxy, who were held to a goalless draw with DC United.
Although only ten goals were scored over the weekend, San Jose Earthquakes were one of the few teams to enjoy a multi-goal victory. Even with 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski on USA duty, the Quakes beat Houston Dynamo 2-0.
In a more frustrating result, New York Red Bulls conceded an extra-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew. Red Bulls are three points behind Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union, but have not won in six matches and speculation of locker-room turmoil has surfaced with forward Luke Rodgers saying: “Everyone is fuming in there. There’s a lot of arguing.”
The first legs of the Apertura championship semi-finals got underway over the weekend in Colombia, with Millonarios and La Equidad drawing 2-2 and Atletico Nacional 3-1 winners over Deportes Tolima. The second legs between these sides are set to take place on Wednesday 8 June, with a place in the final the prize for the winner of each tie.
Nacional went into the final round in Paraguay requiring victory away to national giants Cerro Porteno to guarantee the title, and that is what they got, with goals from Victor Aquino and Silvio Torales thrusting them to a 2-1 comeback win. As it transpired, they didn’t need the three points as nearest challengers Olimpia lost a back-and-forth match 3-2 to 3 de Febrero.
Universidad de Chile saw off O’Higgins with ease, defeating their semi-final opponents 8-1 on aggregate to book their place in the Chile's Apertura finals. In the other semi-final tie, an away goal sealed Universidad Catolica’s presence in the finals after they ended level 2-2 on aggregate with Union La Calera.
And finally, Clausura victors Nacional and Apertura winners Defensor Sporting will face off on Saturday 11 June to determine Uruguay's overall champion for the 2010/11 season.