Tight battles in prospect

In USA and Japan, new seasons have started with a bang, notably with new teams who are upsetting the traditional order, while in Argentina the tightest title-race in recent memory continues unabated. FIFA.com brings you a wide-ranging preview of this weekend's action across some of the world's top leagues in five different continents.

Argentinian Clausura: Congestion at the top
One of the tightest title races in history will continue with surprise-packets Lanus looking to maintain their position atop the Argentinian Clausura when they host Independiente.

Eleven teams are within six points of the leaders with five of them within three points of Lanus, with Buenos Aires giants River Plate are set to benefit from any slip-up when they travel to struggling Racing, who are one point off the bottom.

Big game: It will be derby day on Saturday when Gimnasia host Estudiantes in the latest chapter in La Plata derby. Gimnasia are just fourth points off first but it is their rivals who have historical superiority. However, with four losses in their last seven outings, Estudiantes are in real danger of failing into bottom spot.

Player to watch:
Veteran striker Esteban Fuertes will need to continue his good form in front of goal if Colon are to maintain their challenge. The Santa Fe-based club are only a point away from Lanus, thanks in small part to 36-year-old journeyman Fuertes whose four goals is just one behind top-scorer Arsenal's Luciano Leguizamón

USA Major League Soccer: New world order
MLS's two newest teams, Seattle Sounders and Toronto, are currently preparing to face off on the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada. The Sounders have garnered two home wins from two so far, but perhaps the real test of their credentials will come in this, their first road trip.

In the Eastern Conference, Chicago Fire host the New York Red Bulls, with the pair sitting at the opposite end of the table after their opening two matches. The Red Bulls are only three points behind their opponents, adding extra spice to the clash for the team from the Big Apple.

High stakes: With one point to their name, LA Galaxy will be desperate for points when they host Colorado Rapids at the Home Depot Center. The Galaxy will look to in-form forward Landon Donovan, who starred for USA in their FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers over the past week having scored a double in the season opener against DC United a fortnight ago.

Player to watch: Little-known Colombian striker Freddy Montero has made an early claim to be the league's golden boot winner with three goals from his opening two outings for Seattle. The diminutive 21-year-old will no doubt keep Toronto's defence busy as he aims to move clear of Real Salt Lake's Robbie Findley on the goalscorer list.

Japan J.League: Big guns look to return to top
Some of Japan's traditional big guns sit in the wrong half of the table after three rounds, with Jubilo Iwata perhaps the most desperate to turn things around after two heavy defeats has left them marooned at the bottom of the ladder. The task won't get any easier for the Shizuoka club this weekend when they host Tokyo FC, although the capital club are also struggling with just a win from their three outings.

Many neutrals will be watching newly promoted minnows Montedio Yamagata who continue to impress having already earned a win and then a draw against big guns Nagoya Grampus. They will though be optimistic of building their points tally against the winless JEF United.

Big game: Northern club Albirex Niigata sit at the summit and will be hoping for another three points at home to an underachieving Yokohama Marinos side.

Player to watch: After a great start to their campaign, Gamba Osaka will look to the talismanic Yasuhito Endo for direction following a shock loss at Kyoto Sanga. The midfielder excelled for Japan in their crucial 1-0 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph over Bahrain last weekend.

Elsewhere
After being bundled out of the OFC O-League by Solomon Islands' Koloale FC last week in front of 10,000 fans in Honiara, Fijian champions Ba United will return to domestic competition against Rewa this weekend. Ba, who will be eager to regain their crown and return to next season's continental showpiece, currently sit fourth having played two less matches than many of their counterparts. They will be boosted for the trip to Rewa by the return of stylish striker Maciu Dunadamu.

In South Africa, the season is approaching its climatic stages with this weekend seeing yet more matches among the clubs chasing silverware. Leaders Supersport United welcome Moroka Swallows, while Kaizer Chiefs host Free State Stars. Second-placed Orlando Pirates face a challenging trip to Bloemfontein Celtic and will be desperate for three points to ensure they stay on the heels of the frontrunners.