As another weekend in the MLS has passed, much of the parity that we saw last year within the two conferences is starting to form again. Other than Sporting KC, who continued their perfect start to the season, four teams are all locked on six points for second place in the Eastern Conference. The same closeness exists in the Western conference too as Real Salt Lake, San Jose and Colorado all share a spot atop the conference with nine points. Vancouver is close behind with eight points. However, this list doesn’t even include FC Dallas, LA or Seattle, who, along with RSL, represented the top four teams from the Western Conference last year.
In England, Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the table in England after a difficult 2-0 win at Blackburn. A resilient Blackburn performance did not make it easy for United. For some time it seemed that Blackburn would have been able to hold out for a draw, but a goal from Antonio Valencia in the 81st minute, and an insurance goal from Ashley Young in the 86th minute, ensured United would come away with the three points. Meanwhile, neighbors Manchester City’s struggles again continued as they drew 3-3 against Sunderland at home. However, based on the fact that City was down 3-1 in the final ten minutes, a draw wasn’t necessarily a bad result. The results leave United five points clear of City with seven games left to play. Although, the teams still have to face each other at the home of Manchester City at the end of the month, which will most definitely have significant title implications.
In Spain, the norm continued as both Barcelona and Real Madrid picked up three points. Another sensational performance from Cristiano Ronaldo, which included two goals, saw Madrid ease to a comfortable 5-1 win away against Osasuna. Barcelona kept pace with Madrid though after goals from Iniesta and Messi gave them a 2-0 win at home against Athletic Bilbao. The gap now stands at six points with eight games remaining.
In Italy, Juventus gained ground on leaders AC Milan after an impressive 3-0 over Napoli. Milan, on the other hand, were held away from home against Catania to a 1-1 draw. After Robinho opened the scoring for the visitors, a goal from Nicolas Spolli ensured the points were shared between the two clubs. The results left Milan with a slender two point advantage over Juventus at the summit of the table. With eight games still remaining, the title is certainly still up for grabs.
Those were the major story lines from this weekend, but, as always, feel free to comment on anything you feel was left out.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)