david estrada celebrates the seattle sounders' first goal against the chicago fire
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Sounders Notes: Estrada making bid to replace EJ vs. RSL

TUKWILA, Wash. – After spending the bulk of his first two seasons on the bench, David Estrada had a dream start to 2012, netting four goals in his first two games.

Although he hasn’t exactly picked up where he left off since returning from a broken right foot that sidelined him for nearly three months, Estrada has at least featured in two of the Sounders’ last three games. And with Eddie Johnson unlikely to play the full match against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 17 because of his US national team commitments, the third-year forward knows this is a good chance to rest up and get his season back on track.

“The thing about not having a game for a long period of time is that you can train, get comfortable with the guys again and I see it as an opportunity to stand out a little bit and get back to my old habits,” Estrada told MLSsoccer.com. “The last couple days have been pretty good.”

Estrada’s fitness has never been in question, but he did admit that his body has had to get reacclimated to the physical nature of the game.

“When you’re out there the first time you are so excited and you don’t even think about the injury,” Estrada said. “You kind of hit a wall a little bit. Right now I’m just trying to get over that.”

Injury update

There was some mixed news on the injury front following Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers. Although centerback Jeff Parke appeared to come out with nothing more than a bloodied head that required staples to immediately close the wound, the prognosis was not quite as good for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo González.

González will be out two to four weeks with a hamstring pull, while Hurtado suffered a facial fracture. Although the center back was able to finish out the game, it’s not clear if he’ll be cleared to play in time for the Sounders’ next match vs. RSL on Oct. 17.

“He doesn’t need surgery or anything for it, so now it’s a matter of being careful the first few days because there’s blood build-up and you don’t want to mess up the sinuses or anything,” head coach Sigi Schmid explained. “But then there’s a question of, can he play? Is there some kind of mask that can possibly be done to help him get out there and play with a mask? So those are things we’re exploring and those are things that we’re looking into.”

Schmid thanks fans

It’s not very often that Schmid makes a point of making a personal statement following training, but he made a point of thanking fans for Sunday’s tifo that prominently featured his likeness.

The display, which featured Schmid at a poker table holding a royal flush, was a prominent element in a recent collection of the world’s best tifo on The Guardian’s website.

“I thought it was a better likeness than I expected,” Schmid said. “I thought it was a great honor. It was something that really touched me that they would do that. It’s a reflection of our fans. It never ceases to amaze me what our fans are able to do.”

Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.