Emilio helps United get first win of year

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After two frustrating ties to open the season, D.C. United finally got its first win Saturday.

Striker Luciano Emilio scored in the 47th minute as United beat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at RFK Stadium.

And though Emilio scored his second goal in as many games, United’s victory wasn’t an easy accomplishment. It played a man down for the last 19 minutes after Jaime Moreno was red-carded for violent conduct.

United goalie Louis Crayton played in his first competitive game since late October and made four saves, including three in the last 10 minutes.

“Everybody did their job and followed their instructions, and even when Jaime got a red card, we regrouped,” Crayton said.

United (1-0-2) had trouble breaking down Houston’s defense in the first half. But it got a break when the Dynamo committed a defensive error. Former United defender Bobby Boswell failed to control the bounce from Bryan Namoff’s long pass down the middle of the field. Emilio went around the defender and tapped the ball over goalkeeper Pat Onstad and into the net.

“We’ve talked a lot about the way we’ve been starting our second halves,” coach Tom Soehn said. “The first half wasn’t good, and we talked [at halftime] about our energy and concerns about keeping our shape, and it worked. We came out with a little more life, and scoring early was the result of that.”

Forward Ange N’Silu made his league debut in United’s starting lineup. The Frenchman showed confidence on the ball and got behind the Houston defense a number of times in the first half. He was replaced by Moreno in the 65th minute. Moreno’s night ended six minutes later when referee Baldomero Toledo issued him a straight red card for a tackle from behind on Brad Davis.

Down a man, United weathered an offensive onslaught from Houston. Namoff was forced to make a save on Ricardo Clark’s shot, and late in the game Crayton parried Davis’ long, powerful shot off the crossbar.

Stuart Holden nearly tied the score late twice, but United’s defense dealt with the pressure - even if it wasn’t pretty.

“Our guys gutted it out and did the job,” Soehn said.

Houston was without coach Dominic Kinnear, who was serving a suspension.

Before the game, United’s under-16 team lost 1-0 to its counterparts from Real Madrid in the opening match of the Tiffany Trophy Cup. SOUNDERS 2, TORONTO FC 0: Freddie Ljungberg scored his first MLS goal, Kasey Keller recorded his third consecutive shutout and expansion Seattle remained perfect with a victory in Toronto.

REVOLUTION 2, FC DALLAS 1: Veteran midfielder Steve Ralston came on to start the second half and scored on a penalty kick in the 80th minute to give New England a win against FC Dallas in Foxborough, Mass.

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