Five through in MLS, Fluminense hold firm
Five of Major League Soccer’s ten play-off places were booked at the weekend, while Fluminense beat deadly rivals Flamengo to extend their lead in the Brazilian championship race.
FIFA.com has the details of those stories and the rest of the weekend’s news from the big leagues in the Americas.
Argentina: Goals galore
Matchday 9 of the Torneo Inicial yielded a season-high haul of 33 goals in ten games, though there were none to be found in the stalemate between Tigre and leaders Newell’s Old Boys.
Gerardo Martino’s side still stayed top thanks to a 4-2 defeat for Velez Sarsfield at home to Colon and Boca Juniors’ 1-1 draw with San Martin at La Bombonera. Those results allowed Racing Club to move into second courtesy of their 4-0 defeat of local rivals San Lorenzo.
Independiente and River Plate were the weekend’s other headline-grabbers. While El Rojo ended a 15-game winless run in the league by downing Union 2-1, Los Millonarios thrashed defending champions Arsenal 4-0 to move out of the relegation places.
MLS: Five go through
Sporting Kansas City became the first Eastern Conference side to advance to the end-of-season play-offs when they beat Chicago Fire 2-0.
The other four slots from the section remain open, with second-placed New York Red Bulls staying on course after easing to a 4-1 win over Toronto, Thierry Henry scoring one and setting up the other three goals. The New Yorkers are level on points with Chicago Fire, with DC United and Houston Dynamo occupying the other play-off places, and Columbus Crew just a point behind.
The situation is a good deal clearer in the West, where San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are already through. In the fight for fifth, Vancouver Whitecaps hold a two-point lead over FC Dallas after the Texans drew 3-3 at San Jose, a result that gives the Canadians the opportunity to seal their place when they take on bottom club Chivas USA this week.
Brazil: Fluminense pull away
Atletico Mineiro’s 1-1 draw with Portuguesa on Saturday allowed Fluminense to open up a six-point lead in the Brasileirão when they edged out old foes Flamengo the following day.
Though not at their most fluent, the frontrunners took the lead when Fred volleyed home Deco’s cross for his 13th goal of the season, more than anyone else in the league. Flu were then indebted to goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri as he capped a fine display by keeping out Dario Bottinelli’s spot-kick.
The 1-0 win moved Abel Braga’s side onto 59 points, with Atletico Mineiro second and Gremio in third, nine points off the pace. The Porto Alegre side fell further behind when they were held 1-1 at home by ten-man Santos, who had Neymar sent off just after half-time.
Mexico: Relief for Pumas
Pumas UNAM scored their first goals and victory under Mario Carrillo in seeing off Puebla 2-1 at home, a welcome win that revives the university side’s hopes of snatching a championship play-off place.
Tied at the top on 23 points, Toluca and Tijuana secured valuable away wins at Atlas and Queretaro respectively. Meanwhile, neither Guadalajara nor America impressed ahead of their meeting in the Clásico Nacional next week, Chivas going down 1-0 at Pachuca and Las Águilas drawing 1-1 at home to Morelia.
Rangers continue to punch above their weight in Chile, beating Union Espanola 1-0 at home to move clear at the top of the Clausura. Level on points with Rangers at the start of the day, Iquique drew 1-1 with Cobreloa and are now tied on 23 points with the unfancied Palestino, big guns Colo Colo, who won 2-0 away to Santiago adversaries Universidad Catolica, and Universidad de Chile.
Nacional lost 1-0 at Cerro to relinquish the lead in Uruguay’s Apertura to Defensor Sporting and Tanque Sisley, who played out respective 1-1 draws with Juventud and Cerro Largo. Penarol also drew, 0-0 with Danubio, and stay fifth.