New leaders emerge in Argentina, Mexico
Fluminense stretched their lead in Brazil, while new leaders assumed pole position in both Mexico and Argentina this weekend. Over in USA, star-studded LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake booked places in the Major League Soccer play-offs with four rounds of regular season action to go. Join FIFA.com for a look back at all the weekend club action from across the Americas.
Brazil: Fluminense cruise
It was a weekend to savour for Brasileirão leaders Fluminense, who stretched their gap at the top of the championship. The Rio-based side beat Nautico 2-1 with another goal from league top-scorer Fred on Saturday, and they had reason to celebrate again on Sunday when second-place Atletico-MG drew with third-place Gremio. That slip-up leaves Atletico four points behind Flu and Gremio a distant seven behind the top dogs.
Over 40,000 fans turned out at the Morumbi Stadium to welcome new Sao Paulo hero Ganso, who signed for the club last week. The former Santos man didn’t play, as he’s still recovering from an injury, but the home side must have been bolstered by his very presence as they beat Cruzeiro 1-0 to move up to fifth. Other stars had more tangible influence at the weekend as international standouts Clarence Seedorf (Botafogo), Diego Forlan (Internacional) and Paolo Guerrero (Corinthians) all scored.
Argentina: Giants in trouble as Newell’s climb
Newell's Old Boys beat Colon de Santa Fe 2-1 to become the new leaders of the Torneo Inicial, with another goal from league top scorer Ignacio Scocco. Gerardo Martino’s Newell’s are the only unbeaten side remaining in the competition, and they took full advantage of former leaders Boca Juniors' second loss of the term, to Lanus, who are coached by former Bombonera playing idol Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
At the other end of the standings, giants River Plate and Independiente lost and drew respectively to drop into the relegation zone. There are still 30 games to go, but it’s a worrying state of affairs for these traditional powers.
Mexico: Dull draws reign as Toluca take over
Struggling giants Pumas met Guadalajara (Chivas) in a game that both sides – mired in mid-table mediocrity – needed to win in order to bolster their play-off hopes. But a desultory 0-0 draw meant that Pumas kept up their unwanted 30-year streak of failing to beat Chivas in Guadalajara, and leaves both sides in trouble. The much-anticipated contest between America (fifth) and Cruz Azul (sixth) also failed to produce many fireworks, ending in another dull draw (1-1).
At the happier end of the table, Toluca took top spot with a slim 1-0 win over Atlante as Tijuana’s reign at the summit was cut to only one week after their draw with Atlas.
USA: Play-off joy for Galaxy, RSL
LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake both clinched spots in the all-important MLS play-offs. The star-studded Galaxy, playing without injured David Beckham, booked their place in their fourth straight post-season party with a 4-2 win over FC Toronto, with free-scoring Irishman Robbie Keane scoring twice. Jason Kreis’s RSL, champions in 2009, just managed to edge out Portland to guarantee play-off action, despite missing star Costa Rica striker Alvaro Saborio.
The pair join overall leaders San Jose Earthquakes in reaching the play-offs from the Western Conference, where two spots remain up for grabs among Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas. Philadelphia Union, Toronto and New England Revolution are all eliminated in the East.
Defensor Sporting took over top spot in Uruguay with a 4-1 hammering of Progreso, Diego Rolan hitting a superb hat-trick. Nacional and El Tanque Sisley are tied with the leaders on ten points after four rounds of matches.
There’s another three-way tangle at the top in Chile, where Municipal Iquique are nominal leaders after 11 games, but tied on 22 points with Universidad de Chile and Rangers de Taica.
Macara are still tops in Ecuador despite losing at the weekend, 2-0 to LDU Quito. Emelec and LDU are hot on the leaders’ heels, too, waiting to pounce just one point further back. Emelec, in particular, are licking their lips, with a pair of games in hand and Luciano Gabriel Figueroa scoring for fun.