Americas Leagues review
There was excitement aplenty this weekend in Mexico, Argentina and the Brazilian state championships, while the start of this year’s MLS season has already supplied a landmark moment. FIFA.com brings you its customary review of the best of the action in the biggest leagues in the Americas.
Mexican Clausura: Pumas still in front
Pumas UNAM may have missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw at home to an inconsistent Pachuca, but Los Felinos remain the competition’s only unbeaten side and lead both Group 3 and the overall standings. Group 1 pace-setters Tigres were also held to a goalless draw away to Estudiantes Tecos, but it was a different story for Atlante, whose 5-1 home win against Jaguares took them into first in Group 2.
Big game: Thanks to goals from Walter Ayovi and Abraham Carreno, reigning champions Monterrey won 2-1 at home against America to close the gap on overall leaders Pumas. The defeat also cost Las Águilas first place in Group 2.
Headline-grabber: Runners-up last term, Santos Laguna’s 1-0 loss to Morelia was their fifth consecutive reverse – four of which have come under Argentinian boss Diego Cocca.
Argentinian Clausura: Los Xeneizes undone by Olimpo
Modest outfit Olimpo pulled off yet another shock result by downing Boca Juniors 2-0 at their Bombonera stadium. The three points helped ease Olimpo’s relegation fears, decided on points average over the past three years, as well as taking them clear at the top of the Clausura 2011 standings – at least until Banfield play Huracan on Monday. Boca, who had never previously lost to the team from Bahia Blanca, have now gone four games without a win. Godoy Cruz and unbeaten Argentinos Juniors defeated Lanus and Newell’s Old Boys respectively and are now fifth and sixth – level on ten points and three behind Olimpo.
Big game: Champions last time out, Estudiantes de La Plata picked up their third away victory in a row and knocked Racing Club from top spot in the process. The winner in a 1-0 success came via an inch-perfect chip by the Uruguayan Rodrigo Lopez.
Headline-grabber: The match between Velez Sarsfield and San Lorenzo was suspended after just seven minutes due to incidents in the away end of the stadium and outside the ground where, with the cause still to be established, a San Lorenzo supporter passed away.
United States MLS: Promising start to new term
Los Angeles Galaxy needed a second goal in two games from Brazilian midfielder Juninho to avoid a defeat against New England Revolution. The 1-1 draw was enough to keep Galaxy a point clear atop the Western Conference, though they have played a game more than all but one of their conference rivals. Over in the East, meanwhile, DC United lead on goal difference after kicking off with a fine 3-1 win against Columbus Crew.
Big game: One of two MLS newboys, Vancouver Whitecaps got underway in style with a 4-2 victory over fellow Canadian outfit Toronto FC. The latter’s Dwayne De Rosario can take some consolation in a slice of MLS history, however, with his 20th-minute equaliser the 8,000th goal since the competition began.
Headline-grabber: In his first top-level encounter since the car accident that sidelined him for nearly 18 months, USA striker Charlie Davies scored a vital double for club side DC United.
Brazilian state championships: Tight at the top of Paulista
Sao Paulo’s 1-0 away win at Gremio Prudente keeps them in first place in the Paulista state championship after 14 games. Though they are level on points with Corinthians, who beat Americana 1-0, O Tricolor Paulista have the edge having won one more game. Palmeiras, for their part, lost ground after a 1-1 draw with Sao Caetano and are two points behind the leading pair in third. Another point further back are Santos, who fell to a surprise defeat at Bragantino.
Big game: Thanks to a debut goal from high-profile signing Diego Souza, Vasco Da Gama strode to a 2-0 win over local rivals Botafogo and stay out in front of Group 2 of the Taca Rio, the second stage of the Carioca state championship. Despite the defeat, Bota remain in first place in Group 2.
Headline-grabber: Atletico MG required an injury-time own goal to get back to winning ways against Villa Nova (2-1) and stay hot on the heels of Mineiro state championship leaders Cruzeiro. A Raposa have a three-point advantage though have played one game more.
In Chile, Universidad Catolica ensured they remain out in front for the second week running after a 2-1 win over Santiago Morning. Two of the country’s other traditional heavyweights had a tougher time of it, with Universidad de Chile (4th) and Colo Colo (9th) only able to draw 1-1 with O'Higgins and Cobreloa respectively. In second spot, three points behind the leaders, are Union La Calera, who were 2-1 victors against Audax Italiano.
Turning to Guatemala and Clausura 2011 leaders Heredia cemented their position with a 2-0 win over reigning champions Comunicaciones. Second-placed Municipal beat Marquense 3-1 to leapfrog Mictlan, who went down by the same score at Malacateco (4th).
Meanwhile in Peru, Alianza Lima were held 0-0 by surprise packages Cobresol (4th) but stay two points clear at the top thanks to Cienciano’s 2-0 reverse at the hands of Sporting Cristal. Third-placed Juan Aurich are four points off the pace after their goalless draw away to Sport Huancayo.
Finally to El Salvador, where the Clausura race got even more exciting after leaders Aguila played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Atletico Marte. Just two points behind the leaders are Luis Angel Firpo and Vista Hermosa, 3-0 and 2-0 winners over Alianza and FAS respectively. One point further back are Isidro-Metapan, who beat Universidad de El Salvador 2-0.