Goal-getters in the groove
There were some big-name forwards on the mark in the Americas this weekend, with the likes of Liedson, Wagner Love, Omar Bravo and Thierry Henry all finding the back of the net to further enhance their reputations and take their teams to victory. FIFA.com focuses on the region's attackers as it rounds up the latest action from Major League Soccer in the north to Argentina in the south.
Argentinan Clausura: 'Today’s going to be a great day'
That was the message Newell’s Old Boys striker Maxi Urruti tweeted before the Rosario outfit’s meeting with Racing Club. And Urruti was spot on with his prediction too, justifying coach Gerardo Martino’s decision to promote him from the reserves by scoring the first in a 2-0 win that moved high-flying Newell’s into second place.
Boca Juniors unseated Estudiantes at the top by beating them 3-0 in La Plata for their biggest win in the fixture since 2007. Leading the way for Los Xeneizes was Uruguayan forward Santiago Silva, who scored his first goal for the club. It was a bad weekend for the relegation candidates, however, with Atletico Rafaela, All Boys, Olimpo and Tigre all losing and San Lorenzo passing up the chance to climb out of the relegation play-off spots when they went down 2-0 at home to Velez Sarsfield.
Brazilian state championships: Relief for Liedson, Love rides again
Forwards grabbed the headlines. A case in point was Corinthians’ naturalised Portuguese poacher Liedson, who ended a 13-game goal drought by hitting a brace in the 3-0 defeat of Oeste, a result that kept his side second in the Campeonato Paulista standings. Setting the pace, albeit on goal difference from O Timão, are Sao Paulo, who saw off Ituano 4-2.
Vagner Love was the star of the show in the Campeonato Carioca, striking twice for Flamengo as they downed Bangu 2-1 to move out front in the table. Staying in Rio de Janeiro, second-placed Botafogo drew 1-1 with Fluminense in the latest staging of O Clássico Vovô.
Down in Rio Grande do Sul, Leandro Damiao scored the only goal in Internacional’s 1-0 victory over Canoas, while former Lyon idol Juninho Pernambucano conjured up two sumptous strikes for Vasco da Gama. Completing a fine couple of days for the Brazilian forwards’ union were the Atletico Mineiro front line, who fired the club to their ninth win in nine games, the only 100 per cent record in the entire country.
Mexican Clausura: Bravo to the rescue
Omar Bravo made sure the absent Emanuel Villa and Javier Orozco were not missed too much in Cruz Azul’s meeting with San Luis, helping himself to his first brace since the Clausura 2008 as Los Cementeros came from behind to win 3-1 and creep into the championship play-off berths. Monarcas Morelia lost their grip on top spot when they fell 4-1 at title holders Tigres, who moved up to second, a point behind new leaders Santos Laguna, easy 3-1 victors at Toluca.
American Major League Soccer: Henry on song, woe for Galaxy
Thierry Henry scored his first MLS hat-trick as New York Red Bulls overpowered Montreal Impact 5-2, leaving the Canadian rookies still without a win. The New Yorkers remain second in the Eastern Conference behind the unstoppable Sporting Kansas City, who made it four wins out of four with a 1-0 defeat of Chivas USA, the bottom club in the West. Surprisingly, reigning champions Los Angeles Galaxy are keeping Chivas company, having recorded a win and two defeats in their opening three games, their latest setback a 3-1 home reverse against New England Revolution. At the other end of the table, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids are tied on nine points apiece.
Unbeaten in 28 games, Deportivo Lara’s hopes of going one match further and breaking the Venezuelan record, set by Deportivo Portugues 45 years ago, were dashed when they lost 1-0 at Deportivo Anzoategui, Carlos Lopez scoring the streak-ending goal. Lara remain top of the table, though Mineros de Guayana have now pulled level with them on points.
In the big game in Costa Rica, Alajuelense made it four wins in a row when they beat arch-rivals Deportivo Saprissa 2-0, a result that takes them sixth, just three points off the Torneo de Verano play-off spots. The four teams currently holding those slots are Perez Zeledon (34 points), Santos (28), Saprissa and Cartagines (27).
Blooming stayed in control in Bolivia thanks to a solitary goal by Argentinian striker Lisandro Sacripanti in their visit to Real Mamore. The country’s two Copa Libertadores representatives both drew 1-1. Bolivar registered their ninth stalemate of the campaign when conceding a late goal at home to Aurora, while The Strongest were held in check at Oriente Petrolero.