Keane sparks LA as Argentinian elite roar
FIFA.com rounds up all the weekend club action from around the Americas, where cracking goals were the order of the day in Brazil, Robbie Keane got his stint in the States off to a Hollywood start and Chivas Guadalajara took over top spot from Pumas south of the Rio Grande in Mexico.
USA: Irish eyes smile in SoCal
“There is always a bit of pressure as a goal-scorer in a new team and I’m glad I got it over with quickly,” was Irish international Robbie Keane’s cool comment after helping LA Galaxy to a 2-0 win over fellow Californians San Jose Earthquakes at the weekend. It took the former Tottenham and Celtic man only 21 minutes to get on the scoresheet at his new club, finishing off a tidy bit of service from former fellow Premier League standout David Beckham to keep the Galaxy – MLS’s most star-studded team – in first place in the Western Conference and overall. Seattle Sounders trail LA by six points in the West thanks to a 1-0 win over third place FC Dallas. On the Eastern side of the table, Columbus Crew kept hold of first place after an entertaining 2-1 victory over new boys Philadelphia Union, a result which sees the men from the City of Brotherly Love drop into fourth place in the East. That puts them six points off the Crew and one behind Houston Dynamo, who beat Real Salt Lake in a 3-2 thriller. Only five points separate second from sixth place in a logjam of an Eastern Conference.
Brazil: Stunning strikes and draws aplenty
A host of scorching goals highlighted the weekend’s action in Brazil, which included more than one local derby. In a pulsating clash between Internacional and Flamengo, Leandro Damião and Ronaldinho – recently recalled to the Brazilian national team – both scored cracking goals in a 2-2 draw that did not want for drama. When São Paulo met Palmeiras, Dagoberto combined with Rivaldo to bag a sumptuous effort in another draw, this one ending 1-1. Vasco and Fluminense also shared the spoils in the weekend’s other ‘clasico’ at the Engenhão (1-1). Corinthians had the chance to leave their rivals behind and claim the title in the first round of the championship, but an unexpected loss to Figueirense (0-2) kept Liedson's squad from sealing the deal. The next round of the Brasileirão will see more regional clashes that could change the situation at the top of the table, but for now Corinthians stay top, followed two points behind by Flamengo, and São Paulo one point behind them.
Argentina: Big smiles for the big four
Boca Juniors, Racing Club and San Lorenzo won back-to-back games for the first time in the young Apertura campaign and are all sitting pretty in the top-five after three rounds. With just four minutes to go, Pablo Mouche grabbed the only goal of the game for capital giants Boca, who beat Newell’s Old Boys on the road in Rosario. Racing also won away from home - a 1-0 victory at Banfield - to join Los Xeneizes in drawing alongside defending champions Velez Sarsfield and runners-up Lanus at the league summit with seven points. San Lorenzo – who tasted victory at home – sit in second place alongside surprise package Atletico Rafaela, who have won two in three since promotion from the second division. Independiente kept up the pressure on Estudiantes, who have yet to win a game, with a 1-0 win. Colon of Santa Fe, who face Olimpo in Bahía Blanca this Monday, can catch the leaders with a victory.
Mexico: Young Chivas take the lead
Defending champions Pumas lost hold of first place after six weeks on top, with a youthful and lively Chivas Guadalajara taking over after a 2-1 win over ten-man Monterrey, who were without their talisman Humberto Suazo. Pumas are now two points behind Chivas, who are getting outstanding production from young guns like Marco Fabian (22), who scored in the win over Monterrey, and the highly touted Carlos Fierro off the bench. Pumas’ loss of first place was doubly painful considering it was their first defeat to Puebla on the road in more than 14 years. Cruz Azul and Tigres are not far behind the leading duo, with wins over Tijuana and San Luis respectively. Meanwhile, capital giants Club America are back on track after a bumpy start with a 5-2 win over Atlas that puts them in eighth place.
Deportivo Saprissa’s poor start in Costa Rica continued with a loss to Cartagines that sees the ‘Purple Monster’ second from bottom with zero wins, two losses and two draws. Alajuelense lead the pack with four wins and a draw. In Ecuador, Deportivo Quito are still perfect after beating Liga de Loja 1-0. With six victories in as many games, the Azulgranas are six points ahead of crosstown rivals Liga de Quito, who shocked El Nacional at the Estadio Atahualpa with a 3-2 victory. Emelec's poor start contonued with a 2-0 loss at Deportivo Cuenca and Barcelona beat Imbabura 3-1, enough for third place. Fenix, Cerro and Danubio are all tied for first place in Uruguay after two rounds, with the leading trio all enjoying wins at the weekend.