Boca Juniors avoided defeat yet again to take a four-point lead into the second half of the Argentinian season, while Vasco da Gama consolidated their dominant position in Brazil with an emphatic win. Hitting the headlines in the USA, meanwhile, was Dwayne De Rosario, who struck the MLS’s quickest ever treble as DC United sank Real Salt Lake. has the details on those stories and more in its weekly Americas digest.

Argentina: Boca stay undefeated
Tabletoppers Boca Juniors kept their title charge on track with a useful 0-0 draw at Argentinos Juniors, a result that extended their unbeaten run to 19 games and kept them four points clear of Racing Club, who played out a goalless draw of their own at San Lorenzo. That stalemate also leaves Los Santos dangerously placed in the three-season-averaged relegation standings.

Independiente’s recovery under new coach Ramon Diaz came to a grinding halt at home to defending champions Velez Sarsfield, whose 1-0 victory ended a run of five games without a win.

Lisandro Lopez scored the goal of the weekend with a superbly executed bicycle-kick to give Arsenal the lead at Olimpo, though the hosts would fight back from 2-0 down to secure a point, Martin Rolle coming to the rescue with two goals in three minutes late on. Season revelations Atletico Rafaela missed the chance to move to within a point of Boca after going down 2-1 to San Martin in San Juan, this after leading for most of the game.

Brazil: Super Souza fires Vasco
Diego Souza was in inspired form as Vasco da Gama moved two points clear at the top, the midfielder scoring all three as the leaders won 3-0 at Cruzeiro. Moving second behind them were Corinthians, who bounced back from a run of two defeats and a draw to beat Bahia 1-0, Emerson scoring the all-important goal.

Sao Paulo and Botafogo sit third and fourth respectively after playing out an engrossing 2-2 draw. Sebastian Abreu gave the Rio side a two-goal lead before half-time, only for FIFA U-20 World Cup winner Henrique to pull one back just after the break and veteran Rivaldo to convert from a precise Rogerio Ceni free-kick in the final seconds.

Elsewhere, Flamengo won for the first time in ten outings after coming from behind to beat America 2-1, Thiago Neves scoring the winner with two minutes remaining.

Mexico: Draws aplenty as play-off battle intensifies
Only six points separate top from 15th place in Mexico, with the leading trio of Jaguares, Cruz Azul and Guadalajara all tied on 18 points, and Tigres and Pumas a single point behind.

The two big games of the weekend both ended in 1-1 draws, with Los Cementeros and Chivas cancelling each other out, and Jaguares rescuing a late point against Tigres, who had seemed poised to move clear at the summit.

There was yet another 1-1 draw in the battle of the new coaches, as Antonio Mohamed’s newly promoted Tijuana shared the spoils with Alfredo Tena’s America, a result that left Las Águilas two places off the bottom and well out of the running for a play-off slot. Three points behind them lie Tijuana, who remain bottom of the table but can still save themselves from the drop with a decent run of results.

The situation looks a good deal bleaker for Estudiantes Tecos and Atlas, who both lost at the weekend and sit just above Tijuana, with little chance now to improve their points average.

MLS: LA late show, De Rosario on fire
Substitute Chad Barrett scored an injury-time winner as LA Galaxy won 1-0 at Columbus Crew to tighten their grip on top spot in the Western Conference. Robbie Keane and David Beckham were both missing for the Californians, while Landon Donovan was on the bench.

Second-placed Seattle Sounders kept the gap at seven points thanks to a 3-1 defeat of Vancouver Whitecaps, Fredy Montero scoring twice. Real Salt Lake now lie three points further back after crashing 4-1 at DC United, a game made notable by Dwayne De Rosario’s exploits in front of goal, the Canadian taking just nine first-half minutes to score the quickest hat-trick in MLS history.

The Crew’s defeat to the Galaxy, coupled with Sporting Kansas City’s draw with Philadelphia Union, allowed Houston Dynamo to move ahead in the Eastern Conference with a 1-0 win at FC Dallas. In contrast to the West, only four points separate the top six in the East.

Universidad de Chile made it nine wins out of nine, a new Chilean league record, in beating O’Higgins 3-0. Eight points adrift in second are Colo Colo, who prevailed for the first time in six years at Cobreloa’s Calama fortress. Universidad Catolica’s crisis of confidence took on new dimensions when they fell 3-2 to Santiago Morning, their fifth straight away game without a victory.

Over in Ecuador, Juan Ramon Carrasco’s Emelec slumped to a 5-0 reverse at Independiente Jose Teran, while Barcelona downed Cuenca 2-1 to move within five points of leaders Deportivo Quito, who were not in action this weekend due to their Copa Sudamericana commitments.

Finally, Real Potosi stayed in charge of Group A in Bolivia by thrashing Guabira 6-0. The chasing Bolivar dropped two points in making a goalless visit to San Jose de Oruro, while The Strongest moved a point clear of Aurora in Group B after edging them out 2-1 in La Paz.