Since losing to Seattle Sept. 2 in the Open Cup final, United has gained four points in league play by tying Dallas, 2-2, on the road last weekend and beating Kansas City. It plays Seattle again at RFK Saturday in another crucial match.
Despite missing defenders Mark Burch and Dejan Jakovic to recent surgeries, United got enough defensive work from a four-man back line featuring Rodney Wallace and Devon McTavish, plus five saves by keeper Josh Wicks, to post its fifth league shutout of the season, and third in the past four games.
Each team hit the crossbar once, and United defenders Julius James and Bryan Namoff both blocked shots near the goal line during a furious scramble.
Emilio scored in the 39th minute to end another crazy sequence. Christian Gomez swerved a near-post cross that Namoff directed across the goalmouth. Chris Pontius' diving header hit the frame and Emilio banged home the rebound for his ninth goal of the season.
United's home game Saturday against Seattle will be the second of five straight at home. Kansas City finishes a three-game road trip in New York on the same night.
Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 1, Kansas City 0.
Goal: Emilio 39.
D.C. United -Wicks; Namoff, Simms, James (John 62), Quaranta (Fred 85), Gomez (Olsen 46), McTavish, Wallace, Pontius, Emilio, Moreno.
Kansas City - Hartman; Leathers, Besler, Conrad, Harrington, Lopez, Hirsig (Zusi 78), Jewsbury, Gomez (Myers 46), Arnaud (Hercegfalvi 69), Wolff.
Red card: Myers 86.
Referee: Terry Vaughn.