The Sounders were at Starfire today, concluding local training before flying to Panama tomorrow for the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round match against San Francisco FC.
Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say:
On what the 7-0 loss to Manchester United did to his team on a mental level) "I think we're going to show our character when we go down to Panama on Tuesday and when we go into Houston. I think we'll show what we're made of. The key for us now is to show what we're made of and show what we're all about. I'm confident that we're going to go into the game in Panama and into the game in Houston and show what we're all about."
On how they will adjust to the extreme heat in Panama after playing in the cool Pacific Northwest) "Lots of water, lots of Gatorade, lots of liquids. It's the situation that both our games are at night, so it obviously cools down at night somewhat. But playing in the heat and humidity will be something different for us. It's a challenge that we've faced before - we faced it last year and we were able to come through it."
On playing well in this year's Champions League after last year's performance) "Certainly we'd like to do better in the Champions League than we did last year. I think it was a good learning experience for us. I thought that we were a little unfortunate, especially when we got to the group stage - having to play two of our first three on the road. That made it difficult for us. But again, we've got to win these play-in games to get into the group stage and then we've got to play better than we did last year."
On how much the Champions League experience from last year will help with this game against Panama) "It helps. Obviously the guys that were on the field, and there's guys that have played on those types of fields and in those competitions before, so that's a big plus for us. They know they can go on the road and they can get a result. We're confident, always, in terms of what we can do on the road."
On if he will split up the squad between Panama and Houston) "No. We're going down to Panama with 20 players and we'll take those 20 to Houston. Obviously if there's an injury or something like that we might trade out a player or two, but we're taking a couple of extras so hopefully it won't come to that."
On if he can field their best lineup versus both Panama and Houston, with the amount of time between games) "Yeah. I think we should be O.K. fitness-wise. We've taken a few days off so far, so that's been good. Now it's just a matter of getting ready to do the work for this next part of the schedule."
On what he knows so far about San Francisco FC) "Obviously we're gathering our information. We didn't want to lose our focus and gather information early, but we've got some tapes, we've got some highlights of them, we have their roster and we know what they're about. Their coach used to coach the national team in Panama. They're a team that is pretty well organized. In the past it's been a pretty straight 4-4-2, but we'll see how it is. But since they haven't played a lot of league games there's not a lot that we're going to be able to base what their new teams looks like, so we're going to have to adjust quickly in the game."