Sounders Insider

Early look at Sounders' playoff opener

We got our last access to coach Sigi Schmid this morning before the Sounders' playoff opener Thursday night against Houston.

This is what he had to say about the Dynamo:

“Obviously we played them a few times so we know what they bring us. We will look at video tape today just a little bit just to remind guys of what our games were like with them the last couple times we played them in the league and also where they are at because they have a couple of new faces and have made some changes since we last played them. We know it’s going to be a bang-bang series. It’s going to be a rough and tumble series as well. And we are prepared for that.”

A quick look ahead:

HOUSTON DYNAMO (13-8-9, 48 pts.)AT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (12-7-11; 47)7 p.m. Thursday, Qwest Field.TV: ESPN2.Radio: 97.3 FM.Head-to-head: Sounders FC is 2-0-1 against the Dynamo. In the regular season, Seattle won at home on July 11, 2-1; and drew in Houston on Aug. 23, 1-1. The Sounders also won a U.S. Open Cup match in Tukwila on July 21, 2-1.Team leaders: For Houston – G 8, Brian Ching; A 12, Brad Davis; S 46 Davis; GAA 0.97, Pat Onstad. For Seattle – G 12, Fredy Montero; A 9, Freddie Ljungberg; S 86, Montero; GAA 0.92, Kasey Keller.Coach Sigi Schmid scouting report: “They know how to get to championship games, and they have done it before. So, we are the new kids on the block. We are the upstarts. It’s been a real good competition in the games we have played them and it’s going to be a hard, tough series.”Notes: This is the first game of a two-game aggregate-score series. The team with the most total goals over the two games will advance to the Western Conference championship. … Houston finished second in the conference, one point behind Los Angeles and one point ahead of third-place Seattle. … Kasey Keller (ankle) and Fredy Montero (flu symptons) returned to practice Wednesday and are expected to start. … This is Houston’s fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs, and the Dynamo won MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. Seattle is the first MLS expansion team to qualify for the playoffs since 1998. … Houston went 1-4-2 over its final seven road games. … The Dynamo roster has several players with Northwest ties: Backup keeper Tally Hall is from Gig Harbor. Starting keeper Pat Onstad is from British Columbia. Craig Waibel played for the USL Sounders and UW. Cam Weaver played for the USL Sounders and Seattle U. Mike Chabala played at UW. Ching played at Gonzaga. Coach Dominic Kinnear played for the USL Sounders. … Scattered single tickets remained Wednesday.Next: The series will conclude at noon Nov. 8 at Robertson Stadium in Houston.