Supporters, streaks and derby delight

FIFA.com’s latest stats review involves a tour of three continents, with derby milestones for Messrs Samuel, Messi and Ronaldo, runs ended for both River Plate and Brad Friedel, and a mammoth crowd in the USA.

people turned out to watch Seattle Sounders beat Portland Timbers 3-0 on Sunday, the second-largest crowd ever recorded at a stand-alone Major League Soccer match. The attendance fell just short of the record, which was set in the league’s first-ever game, when 69,255 turned out to watch Los Angeles Galaxy host New York Metro Stars at the Rose Bowl in 1996. It did, however, eclipse the Sounders’ own club record of 64,140, and leaves the Seattle outfit with an impressive average attendance of over 43,000 for the season. The biggest crowd ever to watch an MLS match was actually recorded six years ago, when 92,650 took in Chivas USA’s clash with New England. However, that game was the first part of a double-header, with the headline event a clash between Guadalajara and the visiting giants of Barcelona.

 days without a home win in Argentina’s top flight was the run that came to a welcome halt for River Plate on Sunday. Los Millonarios ended the streak in style too, putting five unanswered goals past Godoy Cruz to take their aggregate score in their last two matches to 9-0 – and continue their ascent out of the relegation zone. River’s last home win had come on 9 April 2011, when Matias Almeyda – the team’s current coach – laid on the only goal against Banfield for Mariano Pavone, a player who has since moved on twice, to Lanus and Mexico’s Cruz Azul. Among those on target in Sunday’s long-awaited sequel was Leonardo Ponzio, for whom a goal proved the perfect way to mark his 100th River appearance.

 consecutive Premier League appearances was the record sequence that came to an end for Brad Friedel on Sunday. The 41-year-old’s uninterrupted run had spanned almost eight years and spells at three different clubs, dating back to the end of the 2003/04 season. Though it is now at an end, it has left him well clear of his closest challengers, David James (230) and Tim Howard (190), while Gordon Strachan holds the record for an outfield player with 179. And Friedel’s wasn’t the only run in north London to come to an end over the weekend. On Saturday, Olivier Giroud ended a six-match goalless run in the Premier League with a strike that helped secure Arsene Wenger’s 350th win in the English top flight.

 Milan derbies, ten wins: that is Walter Samuel‘s impressive record following Inter Milan’s 1-0 victory over their city rivals on Sunday. Better still, it was a diving header from the veteran defender himself that maintained this unblemished record against AC Milan over the past seven years. The match also brought about another milestone for Samuel’s team-mate and countryman Javier Zanetti, whose 45th appearance in the Derby della Madonnina took him beyond Giuseppe Bergomi’s club record. It was Inter’s seventh straight ‘away’ win in all competitions, while Milan were left to face up to having lost four of their opening seven league matches for the first time since 1941/42.

 consecutive Clásicos have now included goals from both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, this after the superstar duo both found the net twice in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. Ronaldo, in fact, has now scored in each of Real Madrid’s last six matches against Barcelona, setting a new benchmark and eclipsing the previous record of five set by Ivan Zamorano. Messi, for his part, now has 17 Clásico goals to his name and needs just one more to equal Alfredo Di Stefano’s record tally. The little Argentinian was also jointly responsible the last time two players scored twice in this keenly contested fixture, when he and Ruud van Nistelrooy each grabbed a brace in a 3-3 draw in 2007. Only once in the history of El Clásico has a player from either side grabbed a hat-trick, with Luis Belaunde (Real) and Paulino Alcantara (Barcelona) the players in question back in 1916.