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March 5, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Jarrod Smith to IR

IR, as in injured reserve, like in the NFL. The team announced today that the Sounders FC forward, who is still unable to do much because of a hip flexor injury, will miss the first six games of the MLS regular season as required by the league.

Smith is eligible to return to league play for the May 2 game at Chicago. He will not play against his former team, Toronto FC, on April 4.

Smith could still train with the team and play in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in game scheduled for April 28 against Real Salt Lake.

Smith, a second-year forward from New Zealand, was selected by Seattle in the MLS Expansion Draft. He played 20 games during his rookie season with Toronto, starting six.

His designation means Sounders FC can keep another player on the final roster to open the season, then have to make a decision on that player when Smith is ready to return. This could open the door for both Roger Levesque and Jeff Clark, or perhaps someone else thought to be “on the bubble” to make the team.

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