Ronaldinho, Wondolowski inspire big wins
FIFA.com reports on the latest events in the Americas’ leagues, where there was plenty of attacking prowess on show both north and south as River Plate racked up a big win in Argentina, Chris Wondolowski maintained his hot scoring streak in Major League Soccer and Ronaldinho turned on the style in Brazil.
Argentina: River light up the Monumental
Ever since Los Millonarios earned promotion back to the first division, their fans have been waiting for an emphatic win to mark the achievement. That wait finally ended on Sunday when River swept aside Godoy Cruz 5-0, their first victory of the season at the Monumental and their first home triumph in the top flight in 547 days. It was also the biggest win in the league so far this season and came hot on the heels of River’s 4-0 victory at Arsenal last weekend, proof that their front line is on top of its game. The star man on this occasion was Uruguayan Carlos Sanchez, who scored twice. Despite those back-to-back successes, River are still seven points adrift of unbeaten leaders Newell’s Old Boys, who downed Velez Sarsfield 1-0, the only goal coming from Maxi Rodriguez.
MLS: Wondolowski shows the way
Western Conference leaders San Jose Earthquakes made sure they will advance to the play-offs as number-one seeds with a 4-1 defeat of Colorado Rapids, which also meant they will end the MLS regular season with the best record in both conferences, booking them a place in the next CONCACAF Champions League. Unbeaten in their last seven games, the California outfit were indebted to a hat-trick from striker Chris Wondolowski, who has netted seven times in his last five games and is the league’s leading marksman with 25 goals. Should he score two more in San Jose’s next two games, he will match the MLS record set by Roy Lassiter for Tampa Bay in 1996. The weekend’s bad news was the knee injury Landon Donovan picked up in Los Angeles Galaxy’s defeat to Real Salt Lake.
Mexico: Changes at the top
The battle of the top two went the way of Tijuana, as a lone Duvier Riascos strike sank Toluca and gave Los Rojinegros a one-point lead over their opponents. After 12 rounds of games, Tijuana have amassed 27 points, six more than third-placed Leon. Just as in Spain, France and Italy, Mexico was also in thrall to a major derby, as Guadalajara won 3-1 at America to improve their lowly league placing and move up to tenth. Also on the comeback trail are Pumas UNAM, who won 3-2 at home to Monterrey, CONCACAF’s representatives at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012.
Brazil: Ronaldinho turns it on
Ronaldinho showed his right foot can still work wonders, just as it did in his glory days at Barcelona, by scoring a hat-trick in Atletico Mineiro’s 6-0 rout of Figueirense and providing assists for two of his side’s other goals, one of them with a trademark look-the-other-way pass. O Galo remain second, however, six points adrift of leaders Fluminense, who beat Rio de Janeiro foes Botafogo 1-0 thanks to another goal from the league’s leading marksman Fred.
In the Chilean Clausura Universidad de Chile romped to a 4-2 win at Deportes Antofagasta to take the championship lead on goals scored from surprise package Palestino, who made it four wins in a row by beating O’Higgins 2-1. The equally unfancied Rangers are level on points with the top two after they drew with Colo Colo.
There is not much to choose between the leaders in the Uruguayan Apertura either. With six games gone, a mere three points separates table-topping Nacional, who beat Danubio 2-1 at the weekend, from seventh-placed Wanderers. Defensor Sporting and El Tanque Sisley, the only two unbeaten teams left in the league, lie a point behind them in second, along with Fenix.