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March 23, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Jarrod Smith off to New Zealand

The Sounders FC forward has left the team to report to his native country’s national team for friendlies later this month in Thailand.

Smith is on Seattle’s disabled list and can’t play the next five games, by MLS rule, so the trip gives him a chance to maintain his fitness and skill. Smith played in Seattle’s reserve game last Friday and scored a goal.

Smith is tentatively scheduled to return to Sounders FC on April 6.

Here’s some more notes from Sounders FC:

-Fredy Montero’s opening night was one for the record books. According to Elias Sports Bureau, only 10 other players have scored two goals in their first MLS game (none has scored more), and just one player has previously totaled two goals plus an assist: Brian McBride of Columbus in the inaugural season of 1996.

-Sigi Schmid owns a perfect 5-0-0 career coaching record in March. Following the Sounders FC season-opening win over New York, his teams have scored first in four of those victories and shut out opposition three times. A year ago, Schmid guided Columbus to wins in six of the Crew’s first seven matches.

-Forward Nate Jaqua has scored five goals in his last five games against Real Salt Lake (this week’s opponent), including one of his two career hat tricks. While playing for Houston in 2007, Jaqua scored three times for the Dynamo in a 4-3 home win. He got the game-winner and did so again last season in another 4-3 victory and he also found the net against Salt Lake when playing for the L.A. Galaxy on June 17, 2007.

-GK Chris Eylander (knee sprain), MF Sanna Nyassi (hamstring strain) and MF Peter Vagenas (knee) were limited to partial training. DF Taylor Graham (foot) is out indefinitely.

-A limited number of tickets remain available for Saturday’s game. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-MLS-GOAL or going to www.SoundersFC.com.

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