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August 6, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid quotes from Friday

(On Houston Dynamo) “Houston is going to be a very dangerous team because they are a team that has traditionally, over the past period of time in MLS, been at the top of the league and they’re a lot of proud players. They are not really comfortable being in the position they are in so they are going to fight and they’re going to bite and they’re going to scratch. They will do everything they can because they are a very proud team. And anytime you have players like Ching and Mullan and Brad Davis on the offensive side of the ball you are a team that’s got to be reckoned with.”

(On developing a rivalry with Houston) “Last year we played them a number of times, between the Open Cup, the two league games and the first round of the playoffs. When you play a team that often you sort of build a little bit of an edge. Also Dominic and I are friends and as I have said before you never really want to lose to friends because you hear about it for a long time. His teams are competitive. I think my teams are competitive. We had tight games last year, every game was a tight game, some overtime games in there as well. It will be the same this year.”

(On Alvaro Fernandez) “He’s a little bit better in the air than I thought he was. A friend of mine, who was actually raised in Uruguay, sent me and email and said, ‘Yeah, he scored one of my favorite goals on a header for Nacional to win us the Apertura.’ Ironically he ends up scoring a header for us that night. He came in and did what he does. He helps move the ball for us and got into the box at the right time and obviously made a great header. That was a very timely goal.”

(On team’s fitness) “We will see how guys came through training today. Most of the guys felt alright. We were a little cautious with Jeff Parke just because they wanted to give him one more day but he was able to deal with everything well so if he is fine tomorrow he can definitely be a go as well for Sunday. We feel pretty good about where we are at right now.”

(On enjoying the CCL) “As a player you always do, when you’re able to measure yourself. You can definitely see it from the team. I don’t know if they enjoyed the field so much down there, but that’s part of it as well. That’s part of growing up as so forth. For the players on our team that it’s the first time in the competition, it’s a great learning experience. And for some of our other players, our American players, when you can start participating in those kind of tournaments it maybe makes it easier to take the next step up, which is maybe getting involved in the national team or Olympic team because now the coaches know you have experience playing away from home. We’re very fortunate because we play in pretty nice stadiums with pretty pristine fields and part of the challenge when you go internationally is, it’s not always ideal, but you still have to find a way to figure it out and win games.”

(On Nkufo and Fernandez meshing with team on the road) “It was great because it was a little bit like a mini preseason. I think for some reason when you’re overseas, guys seem to spend more time in the lobby, more time interacting. All of the sudden the cards come out and things like that. When they’re in the states, they seem to spend more time in their room on the computer or (playing) videos games or things like that. It was good because it gave them some time to spend with their teammates. I think that was a positive.”

(On the effect of winning) “Everything’s infectious. When you’re winning it becomes something the whole team wants to participate in. When it’s not going well it sort of brings everyone down. Right now we’re on a good streak, the guys are working hard for each other and battling for each other. And certainly right now the confidence of the team is good. They walk into the locker room, they’re happy, they have a bounce as they walk in. I feel very good about we’re at and I think the team does as well.”

(On Nyassi) “He’s blessed with great physical gifts. With Sanna it was always a matter of better decision-making at the right times. I think the cross he hit to Montero in San Jose was superb because he took something off his cross. He knew exactly where Montero was and those were things we’ve been talking about for a long time. He always had the speed, he’s always had the work rate, he’s a tough guy for his size, he’s not afraid of being physically involved in the game as well. Now as he makes final decisions that are better, he can do well. He’s got three assists in the last three games for us and hopefully it will continue to go that way.”

(On Zakuani not practicing) “He was complaining about a little bit of soreness, so we just decided to be a little bit careful with him today.”

(On Nkufo integrating into offense) “With each game it will get better. Sometimes it’s just a matter of when you receive the ball, and did you get it early? Did you get it late? You talk more and more, he always talks to the guys off the field and that help. Obviously on Tuesday we didn’t want to play him because of the heaviness of the field. He had a little bit of tightness as well because he’s rounding into shape also. I expect him and Montero’s relationship to continue to grow, but also his understanding with the other players.”

(On Fernandez playing more minutes) “The real question is, when is he comfortable playing heavy minutes? In the little time I’ve spent with him, he’s very honest. There’s some players you ask them, ‘Are you ready to go?’ They’ll tell you yeah, whether they feel good or not. He was very honest. We talked before the game in Metapan, I said, ‘How many minutes?’ He goes, ‘I can play probably a lot of minutes, but good minutes? I have about 30 right now.’ So we held him at 30. How he feels right now, whether that’s 45 minutes now is something we’ll see. As you get to know players you see who’s really honest, who has a good internal clock and measure of themselves. Some guys will always tell you what they think you want to hear.”

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