WASHINGTON — Lionard Pajoy scored on an opportunistic header in the 60th minute to give D.C. United a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in their home opener Saturday night.
United (1-1-0) stretched their home unbeaten run to 17 matches (13-0-4) with the win. Their last home loss came in last year’s season opener against Kansas City.
Salt Lake remained winless in eight trips to Washington (0-5-3) since 2004 and failed to build on its 2-0 opening day victory at San Jose last Sunday.
The visitors were fortunate to finish with 11 men after Abdoulie Mansally received only a yellow card for an apparent head butt of D.C.’s Perry Kitchen.
United’s Dwayne De Rosario served the second game of a two-game suspension for his part in a similar incident during the preseason.
Pajoy’s header was uncontested after John Thorrington’s lob forced Nick Rimando into a diving save and Pajoy easily got to the rebound.
Salt Lake defenders appeared to think Pajoy was offside, but television replays appeared to show otherwise.
Salt Lake pressured at times after falling behind, and had a chance to tie when Bill Hamid deflected Khari Stephenson’s midrange effort in the 73rd minute.
Lovel Palmer also came close to tying it 10 minutes later when his shot from just outside the penalty area sailed wide of Hamid’s right post.
United nearly doubled their lead when substitutes Kyle Porter and Carlos Ruiz linked up, only for Rimando to deflect Ruiz’s one-time shot.
D.C. narrowly created the better first-half chances, including Chris Pontius’ blast off the left post from about 12 yards out.
Nick De Leon also headed wide while under pressure after reaching Kitchen’s cross.
United outshot Salt Lake 10-9 in the first half, and 6-2 in the second, forcing Rimando to make five saves.
The series is at 6-6-4 since Salt Lake entered the league.
• TORONTO FC 2, SPORTS KANSAS CITY 1: At Toronto, Robert Earnshaw scored twice and Toronto FC snapped a 15-game MLS winless streak with a victory over Sporting Kansas City.
Kansas City finished 40 points ahead of Toronto last season but came out sluggish, just as it had done the previous week before rallying to defeat Philadelphia 3-1.
The second half was a different story but Toronto weathered the storm until the 77th minute, when Argentine striker Claudio Bieler, taking to a flick-on header from C.J. Sapong, fired a right-footed shot past Joe Bendik to cut the lead to 2-1.
It was a nail-biting finish as Kansas City stormed the Toronto end and Bendik made a fine reflex save off Bieler in the dying minutes to preserve the victory. They then had to endure five minutes of stoppage time during which Graham Zusi fired a shot over the Toronto crossbar.
• WHITECAPS 2, CREW 1: At Vancouver, British Columbia, Kenny Miller scored in the 57th minute and the Vancouver Whitecaps remained undefeated with a victory over Columbus.
The Crew dropped to 1-1 after winning their season opener.
Daigo Kobayashi also scored for Vancouver, while Jairo Arrieta replied for Columbus.
Miller stole the ball from Columbus defender Glauber, rushed toward the goal and fired a shot past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum from just inside the 18-yard box to put Vancouver ahead 2-1.
• REVOLUTION 1, FIRE 0: At Bridgeview, Ill., forward Jerry Bengtson scored in the 62nd minute, goalkeeper Matt Reis made four saves and New England Revolution opened their season with a victory.
Bengtson headed Kelyn Rowe’s floating pass into the right side of the net midway through the 62nd minute. Rowe played the ball from the left side to the breaking Bengston, who connected from 6 yards out. Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson argued unsuccessfully that Bengtson was offside.
The Fire dropped to 0-2, having failed to score in 180 minutes of play. They lost their league opener to defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles last Sunday.