Boca go top as Mexican minnows surge
Corinthians, and a pair of under-performing Uruguayans, sparked to life in Brazil at the weekend, while Sporting Kansas City kept up their impressive form in the USA. Over in Argentina, River Plate earned a draw that pushed their hated rivals Boca Juniors into top spot, while lowly Tijuana and Leon keep rising in Mexico. FIFA.com reflects on the latest developments across the Americas.
Argentina: River aid eternal enemies
On a weekend that produced only 19 goals in eight games, River Plate did the unthinkable by helping their eternal Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors move into top spot. Colon were about to move top of the standings with a 1-0 lead against River in the last match of the round, but German Pezzella equalised late to earn River a draw and, curiously, propel Boca to lone ownership of first place. Boca, for their part, beat Atletico Rafaela with a pair of goals from Lucas Viatri sealing a run of four consecutive wins for Los Xeneizes.
Independiente are still in danger of relegation as they lost again, this time under talismanic club hero and new boss Americo Gallego, to Godoy Cruz. One of only two teams never to be relegated in Argentina (the other being Boca), Independiente have picked up only six points from a possible 36.
Brazil: Sleeping giants hit back
Copa Libertadores holders Corinthians are a long way from the top of the Brasileirão standings, but they showed the fighting spirit of a champion with a 1-0 win over league leaders Atletico Mineiro, centre-back Paulo Andre scoring the only goal.
Corinthians’ win was not the only resurgence in the 21st round, as Diego Forlan – the adidas Golden Ball winners at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ – ended a three-match scoring drought to grab his first two goals for Internacional in a 4-1 thrashing of Flamengo. Forlan’s countryman Nicolas Lodeiro finally showed his true colours for Botafogo too, filling in for the injured Clarence Seedorf to put in his best performance for the club so far. The playmaker proved decisive with a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over Coritiba.
Mexico: Lesser lights shine bright
Two new names are flying high in Mexico, with second and third place in the Apertura occupied by Tijuana and Leon respectively. The two teams are far from traditional powers south of the Rio Grande, both having just come up from the second division.
Toluca are alone at the top of the table with a seven-game unbeaten streak stretched at the weekend thanks with a 1-1 draw against Mexico City giants America. The leaders will need to keep up the form in the weeks to come, however, as Tijuana are nipping at their heels, just one point back.
At the other end of the table, Puebla picked up a valuable point on the road at Chivas Guadalajara, who are mired in 14th place in the standings and yet to win a game at their usually fortress-like home stadium.
Sporting Kansas City remain top of the Eastern Conference in USA’s Major League Soccer after a tenser-than-expected 2-1 win over basement dwellers Toronto FC, bringing their unbeaten streak to five consecutive games. On the other side of the bracket, San Jose Earthquakes are still the team to beat.
In Chile, Universidad de Chile overcame their first loss of the Clausura season last weekend, rebounding to beat Union San Felipe. However, Rangers de Talca, who have played one game more than Universidad, are three points ahead in first place. Progreso continued their progress over in Uruguay, remaining in first place in the Apertura with their second straight win, a 4-1 battering of Danubio. Fenix are tied with Progreso on six points after beating Racing.
Guarani lost hold of a brief grip on top spot in the early stages of the Clausura in Paraguay after losing to Cerro Porteno. Sportivo Luqueño catapulted to top, holding onto a fragile one-point lead.