Leaders fortunate, Galaxy into play-offs
New leaders took the reins in Argentina as Boca Juniors continued their fine run of form to rise to the top, while Brazilian pacesetters Corinthians and Mexico's Chivas Guadalajara were fortunate to stay in top spot after a loss and draw respectively. Meanwhile, LA Galaxy became the first club to book their place in Major League Soccer's post-season as the race to clinch a play-off spot heated up in the USA's top flight. FIFA.com reviews all this and more in the latest review of weekend action across the Americas.
Argentina: Boca reach summit as Banfield suffer
Boca Juniors toppled San Martin de San Juan 1-0 to leapfrog Atletico Rafaela into first place in the Argentinian Apertura. Walter Erviti was the only man on target for the Xeneizes, who held their opponents goalless for the fifth time this season. Lanus, however, will have an opportunity to join the leaders at the top when they face Argentinos Juniors on Monday.
Atletico Rafaela let their lead slip after a goalless draw with Newell’s Old Boys, while Racing Club and Tigre are on the rise after respective victories over Olimpo and struggling Estudiantes, who are yet to secure a win. Banfield coach Ricardo La Volpe, meanwhile, endured a bitter debut as his side lost for the sixth consecutive time this season, falling 1-0 to Arsenal which has left them still searching for an elusive first goal and languishing at the bottom of the table.
Brazil: Corinthians rely on a little luck
After securing an outstanding victory over Flamengo on Thursday, Corinthians were eyeing yet another three points against Fluminense to put some space between them and nearest rivals Sao Paulo, Vasco da Gama and Botafogo. However, Fluminense had another say in the matter as Fred netted to secure a slender 1-0 win over the leaders, who in turn had to rely on a bit of luck to remain at the top of the Campeonato Brasileiro.
Vasco were unable to take charge of things with set-piece specialist Juninho Pernambucano out of action, able only to salvage a 1-1 draw with Figueirense, while Sao Paulo were defeated 1-0 by Gremio at the Olimpico. In the most lopsided result of the weekend, Coritiba fired five unanswered goals past Botafogo to end the fourth-placed side’s four-game winning streak. Finally, Flamengo's poor run of form was extended for the eighth straight round as they were defeated 2-1 by Atletico-PR.
Mexico: Chivas falter as Tigres close gap
High-flying leaders Chivas Guadalajara were stalled over the weekend as they drew 1-1 with Santos Laguna, reducing their lead atop the Mexican Apertura to one point after Hector Mancilla scored a hat-trick in Tigres Monterrey's 5-0 thrashing of Pachuca. Cruz Azul, for their part, threatened to usurp Chivas reign at the top, but fell short with a 1-0 loss to Morelia. America, on the other hand, remain near the bottom of the table after a 1-0 loss to Atlante, while reigning champions Pumas UNAM are experiencing a drop in quality and have fallen into eighth place after a crushing 4-0 loss at Queretaro.
USA: Hat-trick hope to a dismal draw
LA Galaxy become the first team to clinch a place in the post-season with a 1-0 win over Colorado Rapids, while DC United surged back into play-off contention with resounding effect as Charlie Davies fired home a hat-trick, assisted by Chris Pontius on all three occasions, to defeat Chivas USA 3-0 on Saturday. DC ran rampant in what was a shaky defensive performance from Chivas, while Davies’ treble not only buoyed his club's status, but put him on 11 goals so far this season - second only to Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry, who each have 12, in the race to finish MLS’s top scorer.
While the likes of DC United, New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers are all vying to secure the tenth and final play-off spot, bottom-dwellers Vancouver Whitecaps were frustrated in standard fashion. A first away win still eludes the MLS newcomers as they were unable to capitalise on a man advantage in a 1-1 draw with Red Bulls on Saturday. Vancouver had gone ahead through Davide Chiumiento only to see USA international Juan Agudelo level things in the second half. Even though the Red Bulls salvaged a draw, the Easterners are now neck-and-neck with DC United, who leapfrogged a point ahead. Portland Timbers, meanwhile, have ground to gain as they too were held to a point in a goalless draw with Philadelphia Union.
In Chile, leaders Universidad de Chile saw off San Felipe with ease to stay undefeated and extend their lead at the top of the Clausura standings to five points ahead of nearest rivals Colo Colo. San Felipe, on the other hand, are floundering near the bottom, lying only above Nublense, with just one victory in six matches. Colo Colo kept up their chase on the championship leaders, edging 3-2 past Union Espanola.
Ecuador’s Deportivo Quito maintained an overwhelming nine-point lead over cross-town rivals Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, despite drawing 0-0 at Emelec. LDU secured a narrow 1-0 win over Espoli, while El Nacional leapfrogged Barcelona into third after securing a 2-0 victory when the two sides met on Sunday.
After a 0-0 draw with Rampla Juniors last week, Danubio were again made to settle for a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Nacional in Uruguay. While Penarol were also held to draw with Racing, River Plate were able to break away from the leading pack in the Apertura standings as they took sole control of the top after a 2-1 win over Rampla.