Despite varying schedules, league play is ongoing in all of the biggest leagues across North and South America. There was some great football to be seen in the Brasileirao, Argentine Primera and Liga MX over the weekend. Atletico Mineiro and Vasco da Gama played arguably the biggest game of the weekend, with Ronaldinho's boys coming out on top to solidify their lead in Brazil.
River recover from rocky Primera start
Last week, River Plate played their first game back in the Argentine Primera at home against the team that relegated them, Belgrano de Cordoba. There would be no revenge on that day, as Belgrano won 2-1 at the Monumental. This weekend, River looked much better.
Estudiantes won their first game of the season without now-retired legend Juan Veron, but they were poor on Saturday as River comfortably defeated them, 2-0. Often maligned striker Rogelio Funes Mori scored both goals, and it looks like a year in the second division has done him some good.
Boca Juniors got off to a rough start against Tigre, playing some poor football for the first 60 minutes of their match, but they were sparked to life by Christian Chavez, who poked in a cross by Nicolas Blandi to get his team on the board. They started playing much better after that and added another goal through Lucas Viatri, who scored this stunner to seal a 2-0 win for his team.
In other action, Newell's Old Boys beat Lanus 1-0, though Maxi Rodriguez picked up an injury and had to leave the game early. Life without problem child Teo Gutierrez is going well for Racing, who beat Argentinos Juniors 2-0 on the road. In Monday's action, Velez plays Independiente away while Arsenal go to Atletico Rafaela.
Atletico Mineiro the cream of the crop in Brazil
Thanks to Flamengo's financial woes, Atletico Mineiro are making a run at the Brasileiro title with Ronaldinho at the helm of their club. They took on Dede and title rivals Vasco da Gama over the weekend in what was arguably the biggest match anywhere in the Americas.
The match was very well-played defensively, but Ronaldinho produced one moment of magic to produce the game's only goal, helping his team to a 1-0 win and the top spot in the Brasileirao table. In the 70th minute, he beat his man with a brilliant dribbling move and surprise burst of pace down the left wing, then played a cross that Vasco goalkeeper Fernando tried to clear. He mis-punched and the ball fell to Jo, who nodded it into the net to give his team the victory.
In other action, Internacional looked like they might not need that Leandro Damiao guy after all. They got a stoppage time winner from Mike in a 2-1 victory over Ponte Preda. Fluminense beat Palmeiras 1-0 to stay in the title hunt, while Sao Paolo lost again, falling 2-1 at home to an impressive Gremio side.
Santos remains largely irrelevant after losing their stars to the Olympics, and the same can be said about Corinthians, who mailed in the beginning of their season to win the Copa Libertadores. Santos drew Goianiense 2-2 and Corinthians beat Cortiba 2-1.
Chivas are still winless
The Clausura was rough for Chivas Guadalajara, and the crippling loss of players to the Olympics has caused them to start this year's Apertura just as poorly. They drew Monarcas Morelia 1-1 at home, and that's only because they were rescued by Xavier Baez while playing with 10 men. Maybe it's time for them to just start playing their youngsters and hoping for the best?
Unfortunately, none of the league's main title contenders played each other this week, unless you don't consider Leon's run to be a fluke. The recently promoted side laid a 3-0 beating on defending champions Santos Laguna. Fellow contenders Cruz Azul and Toluca also racked up wins, while UANL Tigres drew 2-2 at home to Queretaro. That's not a good look for the Monterrey side at all. America drew Atlas 1-1, which would be concerning if Atlas didn't draw everyone.
Toluca's run is by far the biggest story in Mexico so far, since Chivas' struggles aren't exactly a new thing at this point. Many expected the Red Devils to be a fringe Liguilla contender this season, not a team in the title race. Their star striker Ivan Alonso was forced into medical retirement, but Juan Cacho looks like a solid replacement, while midfielder Lucas Silva has been absolutely stellar.
The rest of the Americas
We don't really follow the Bolivian league here, but The Strongest have the best name of any team in the world. They won this weekend and they top the table in Bolivia, so it's worth mentioning.
Universidad de Chile won 3-1 over Cobrestal and are undefeated this season. They've also played two fewer games than most teams in Chile, so they're only in third place. If this column has one goal, even more so than informing people about football across the Americas, it's to get La U manager Jorge Falcioni noticed by someone in a bigger league. Give this man a high-paying job somewhere. Please.
Remember Teo Gutierrez, who we mentioned earlier? He plays for Atletico Junior now, along with fellow Colombian international Dayro Moreno. They both scored in a 2-0 win over Deportivo Pasto this weekend. Can these two go to Europe already? Partially because Moreno deserves it, but mostly so we get to read tabloid stories about stupid things Teo does in a foreign country with ungodly gobs of money?
Finally, touching briefly on Paraguayan football, Libertad continue to be hurt by the departure of long-time star Victor Caceres. They played to a 0-0 draw against Guarani in Paraguay this week, and it seems as if their days as a Copa Libertadores contender are over. Libertad have two draws and a win to start the season. Guarani currently tops the league in Paraguay.
Stuff we covered in depth over the weekend
Monday's other weekend recaps