Visitors excel, Brazil's stars shine
Brazilian football’s biggest names turned on the style in a derby-packed weekend in the Brasileirao, while there were points aplenty for the away teams in Argentina and Mexico, and unexpected first-day leaders in Uruguay.
FIFA.com has the details on those stories and more in its weekly Americas update.
Brazil: Stars light up derby clashes
The Brasileirao reached the halfway stage this weekend with a series of exciting regional derbies, illuminated by some outstanding performances from the league’s most talented acts. Neymar kicked the fireworks off with a brace in Santos’s 2-1 defeat of Palmeiras at the Pacaembu, a feat repeated by Thiago Neves in Fluminense’s victory by the same scoreline over Vasco da Gama at the Engenhao.
Luis Fabiano got in on the act with two goals of his own as Sao Paulo won 2-1 at Corinthians, bringing to an end O Tricolor’s run of seven years without a win over O Timão at the Pacaembu. Upstaging them all, however, was Ronaldinho, who rolled back the years with a magnificent solo goal to secure Atletico Mineiro a 2-2 draw with arch rivals Cruzeiro, a result that ensured they stay top of the table. There were no such thrills in the clássico carioca between Rio foes Botafogo and Flamengo, which ended goalless.
Argentina: Visitors make themselves unwelcome
It proved to be a profitable weekend for visiting sides on Matchday 4 in the Torneo Inicial, with away teams scoring points in eight of the nine games, among them Boca Juniors, who beat Union 2-1 in Santa Fe to take the championship lead.
Defending champions Arsenal saw off Independiente 2-0 in Avellaneda, triggering the dismissal of Cristian Diaz, who takes his leave of the only side in the league still without a goal. Arsenal are one of four sides a point behind Boca, a quartet completed by Racing Club, Newell’s Old Boys and newly promoted Quilmes, who all picked up useful draws on the road. River Plate missed out on the chance to join Los Xeneizes when they were held to a goalless draw by local rivals San Lorenzo. Estudiantes and Colon meet on Monday with the chance to replace Boca at the top.
Mexico: More away-day joy for Cruz
A solitary goal from Argentinian striker Mariano Pavone helped Cruz Azul continued their revival at Pumas UNAM in the weekend’s big game in Mexico. The win put Los Cementeros fourth and maintained their fine away form, with all three of their victories this season having come on the road. Newcomers and surprise packages Leon suffered their first home defeat of the campaign, 3-1 at home to Morelia, while frontrunners Toluca had their 100 per cent start to the season ended in a 1-1 draw at Tigres, both goals coming in the opening ten minutes.
In Chile, previously unbeaten Universidad de Chile fell to a shock 5-2 defeat to Union Espanola in the Clausura Tournament on Saturday, their worst result under Argentinian coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Newly promoted Progreso ended day one of the Apertura in Uruguay on top of the table after downing Cerro 2-0 away from home. Elsewhere, there were defeats for title favourites Nacional, Penarol and Defensor Sporting.
A 2-1 defeat of Nacional on Saturday took Guarani to 13 points and consolidated their position as Clausura leaders in Paraguay after five rounds of games. Right on their tail are Sportivo Luqueno, who saw off Olimpia by the same scoreline.
Finally, the countdown to the play-offs continued in USA's Major League Soccer, where Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City shared the spoils at home to second-placed New York Red Bulls, who were without front man Thierry Henry. Kei Kamara was the game’s only goalscorer, giving the hosts the lead on four minutes before putting through his own goal on the half-hour mark. Over in the west, meanwhile, San Jose Earthquakes stayed seven points clear at the top after cruising to a 4-1 win over Colorado Rapids to become the first side to chalk up 50 points.