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Lionard Pajoy gives D.C. United win in home opener
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.
By Brahma Chellaney
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