Boca Juniors maintained their stranglehold at the summit in Argentina, extending their unbeaten run to 20 matches, while Flamengo soured Sao Paulo striker Luis Fabiano's largely-anticipated debut. In Mexico, Pumas UNAM capitalised as Jaguares were held, while David Beckham showed his prowess in MLS action. FIFA.com has all this and more in the latest review of the leagues across the Americas.
Argentina: Boca unbeaten, Racing suffer derby defeat
Boca Juniors continued their impressive run of form in Argentina, securing a 1-0 victory over Tigre on Sunday to move on to 24 points and five points clear of Atletico Rafaela, who themselves were boosted by a 2-1 comeback win over a nine-man Lanus side. An own-goal from Tigres’ Diego Castano proved enough for Boca to maintain their lead atop the table and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games, making them favourites to clinch the title for the first time since 2008. In contrast, a chaotic eight-minute spell in the second half saw Lanus lose both Regueiro and Carlos Izquierdoz to red cards opening things up for Atletico to score twice and seal victory.
Racing Club, on the other hand, slumped down to third in the table, after they dropped a one-goal lead to draw 1-1 with Independiente in the derby of Avellaneda, making it their sixth draw in ten matches.
Brazil: Flamengo dampen Fabiano debut
It took nearly seven months for star-signing Luis Fabiano to make his debut for Sao Paulo FC. The Brazilian forward, making his first appearance since undergoing two surgeries, was greeted by 63,000 fans at the Morumbi, all ready to celebrate the striker’s return against Flamengo. However, Flamengo had other ideas in mind as they spoiled the party in Sao Paulo, Renato Abreu scoring late to clinch a 2-1 victory. “It’s amazing. It’s always great to play these big matches, especially when you spoil an occasion like this one – with all due respect to what the fans did to greet Luis Fabiano,” said Flamengo’s Ronaldinho. “And, besides, that’s the kind of match we must win if we want to keep hunting for the top spots," he added.
The triumph took Flamengo on to 44 points and six behind leaders Vasco da Gama, who missed their chance to widen the gap between them and nearest chasers Corinthians. After leading 2-1 in the first half against Corinthians, Vasco were pegged back by a second-half Danilo goal, levelling things at 2-2 and maintaining just a two point gap between the two. And finally, Botafogo dropped their opportunity to move up the table as they remained in fourth place after a 2-0 loss to Atletico Goianiense.
Mexico: Pumas roar again, Jaguares stumble
Pumas UNAM returned to the Mexican Apertura summit with a slender 1-0 success over America. Luis Fuentes was the solitary man on target as Pumas took advantage of a weekend of poor results for several other title-chasing clubs. Former leaders Jaguares were ousted from first place after a 1-1 draw with Atlas, while Cruz Azul lost 1-0 to Santos, Queretaro inflicted a 1-0 defeat upon Guadalajara, and Tigres were held to a 1-1 draw by Tijuana.
Meanwhile, the race to avoid the drop heated up. Under the guidance of new coach Jose Saturnino Cardozo, a recent run of good form has Queretaro focusing on the race for a place in the play-offs, while Estudiantes Tecos' survival hopes were revived by a 2-0 triumph over Morelia. Tijuana and Atlas’s fight to stay afloat, on the other hand, were not helped as they both came away with 1-1 draws at the weekend.
USA: Galaxy resilient, Crew bounce back
“I honestly enjoy the assists more than scoring,” said David Beckham, who recorded a league-best 15th assist in the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Galaxy were in unfamiliar territory, down a goal at the break, but Beckham, in trademark fashion, served a pass into the area and Chad Barrett somehow managed to get a toe to it and score his second goal in as many matches. The win maintained Galaxy’s status as the only MLS team still to be unbeaten at home this season, and put the Californians well within reach of nabbing the Supporters’ Shield – an annual award given to the club with the best regular season record.
Seattle Sounders, meanwhile, were the ones to spoil Galaxy's hopes of clinching that piece of silverware, as they stayed within seven points of the Western Conference leaders after a 2-1 win over New England Revolution. Eastern leaders Sporting Kansas City salvaged a draw with San Jose Earthquakes just four minutes from time through Teal Bunbury. However, with just a single point collected, Sporting saw their lead atop the Eastern Conference reduced to just one point as Columbus Crew bounced back from a six-game winless run to defeat DC United 2-1 on Sunday. Eddie Gaven, returning from a two-month absence through injury, lifted Crew to victory with a dramatic diving header in the second half.
Universidad de Chile maintained their unbeaten status, drawing 2-2 with Deportes Iquique in the Chilean Clausura, while Colo Colo remained in second place despite losing 4-0 to Deportes La Serena. And still searching for answers were Universidad Catolica after a 2-0 defeat by Cobreloa, who, as a result of the win, climbed up to fourth place and level on 18 points with Audax Italiano.
In Ecuador, Liga de Quito leapfrogged Deportivo Quito into second place, LDU with a one-point advantage after the two sides finished all square with a goal apiece in their match on Sunday. Emelec, meanwhile, beat Independiente del Valle 2-0 and are four points clear at the top.
Finally, Penarol ran out convincing winners in a 3-0 victory over Rentistas, stamping their place atop the Apertura in Uruguay. Nacional also secured a resounding 3-0 win at the weekend, defeating Cerrito, while Cerro moved up to second place with a 2-0 success over River Plate.