Tue 20 Jul by Mark Gleeson
The early season run of outsiders Athletico Paranaense and RB Bragantino in the Brazilian Serie A league looks to be coming to an end with more established teams now nudging into the lead.
Reigning South American champions Palmeiras head the standings going into this weekend’s round of league games while Atletico Mineiro are three points behind them in second. Both play at home on Saturday night and should win their respective games to keep their top-two places, and possibly open a bigger gap on the chasing pack.
Fortaleza have emerged as the new surprise package and have moved into third place, four points behind the log-leaders, after beating Sao Paulo away at the weekend.
Defending champions Flamengo are up to fifth and had a comprehensive 5-0 win at Bahia. It comes following the appointment of Renato Gaucho as their new coach after sacking Rogerio Ceni. Renato made a few changes to the team’s structure in his first match in charge and their improvement is likely to see TAB soccer customers banking on them for more wins in the coming weeks.
Major League Soccer in the USA is proving more difficult to forecast and Soccer 6 and 10 punters should expect some upsets over the next few days.
Top clubs like New England Revolution, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC are all playing away in midweek in difficult assignments. Atlanta United, meanwhile, have fired former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze as their coach, just seven months after hiring him.
The coach had struggled to connect with the players and the team has won only twice this season.
HIRED/FIRED: World Cup winning coach Luis Felipe Scolari’s return to the helm at Gremio is seemingly doing the trick. They won their first league game of the season away at Fluminense on Saturday to lift themselves off the foot of the Brazilian Serie A table.
MISSING: Brazil selected nine home-based players in their squad for the Olympics, resulting in Athletico Paranaense, Atlético Mineiro, RB Bragantino, Flamengo, Fluminense, Gremio, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo all having to do without key performers for up to a month while they are at the Tokyo Games.
BACK IN ACTION: David Wagner was fired last season as Schalke 04 crashed in the Bundesliga and were relegated. But he has bounced back as the new coach of Swiss champions Young Boys Berne, who open the defence of their title this weekend.
WHO’S HOT: Experienced Finnish international Robin Lod got the goal at the weekend that saw Minnesota United end the unbeaten run of Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer.
WHO’S COLD: Following their dismal showing at the COSAFA Cup, Zambia have parted ways with coach Milutin ‘Michó’ Sredojevic, the former Orlando Pirates manager.