Asia's Top Teams to Compete in the Second Edition of the Pan-Pacific ChampionshipJanuary 9, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Los Angeles Galaxy
For 2009, the tournament will move to the U.S. mainland, with Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy hosting the marquee event just outside of Los Angeles. In addition to the host team, the tournament will feature the best clubs from Japan, Korea, and China - J.League's Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Champion Oita Trinita, K-League champion and winner of the Samsung Hauzen Cup 2008 Suwon Samsung Bluewings, and Chinese Super League winner Shandong Luneng Taishan FC.
The tournament will kick off on Wednesday, February 18, at 5:30 p.m. local time with Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea) taking on Shandong Luneng (China) in the opener, followed by the LA Galaxy (USA) hosting Oita Trinita (Japan). The two winners will battle for the Pan-Pacific Championship 2009 on Saturday, February 21, preceded by the third-place match, starting at 5:30 p.m. local time.
The inaugural 2008 championship, which was embraced by soccer fans worldwide, was won by 2007 Japanese Nabisco Cup champions Gamba Osaka after defeating 2007 MLS champion Houston Dynamo in the final at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The 2007 SuperLiga finalist LA Galaxy defeated Australia's Sydney FC of the Hyundai A-League to capture third place.
Tickets for the Pan-Pacific Championship 2009 will be available starting Monday, January 12 at 10 am PT by calling the LA Galaxy at 877-3GALAXY. Fans are encouraged to visit the tournament's official website, www.PPChampionship.net for further information.
Pan-Pacific Championship 2009 - Schedule (All times local)
Wednesday, February 18
5:30 p.m. Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea) vs. Shandong Luneng Taishan FC (China)
8:00 p.m. LA Galaxy (USA) vs. Oita Trinita (Japan)
Saturday, February 21
5:30 p.m. Third place match
8:00 p.m. Championship match
Information on the different teams can be found below.
Major League Soccer (USA)
The two-time MLS Cup winners, LA Galaxy, will look to improve upon their third place finish from the inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship in 2008. Under the direction of former U.S. National Team Coach Bruce Arena, who led the U.S. to a Quarterfinal berth at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan/Korea, the Galaxy will look to start 2009 on the right foot by hosting and winning the second installment of the PPC.
Branded the miracle team of the J.League, Oita Trinita managed to win the Cup title with one of the lowest budgets in the first division thanks to the "Chamusca magic" tactics (named after Head Coach Péricles Raimundo Oliveira Chamusca), and its emphasis on youth development. Two Oita players represented Japan at the Beijing Olympics, and their standout 19-year-old, Mu Kanazaki, has already been called up to the senior squad.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Suwon Samsung Bluewings will look to its coaching, led by Korean legend Cha Bum-Kun, the first Korean to play in the Bundesliga. A number of Bluewing players count on World Cup experience, including Lee Chun-Soo, the Korean side's star player, who represented his country at the 2006 edition.
Shandong Luneng Taishan FC
Chinese Super League
Nicknamed the "Real Madrid of China", Shandong Luneng has dominated their opponents thanks to talents like Li Jinyu, who scored his 110th goal this year and will look to put his mark on this year's Pan-Pacific Championship by adding even more to his account.
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