Atlanta United player Jeff Larentowicz (middle) celebrates with teammates
Photo credit: AJ Reynolds/Atlanta United

Jeff Larentowicz’s penalty kick in the second half proved to be the game winner for Atlanta United which earned the 1-0 home win over visiting FC Dallas at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday night in Major League Soccer (MLS) action.
The victory snapped Atlanta’s (4-2-7, 14 points) six-match losing streak and was only the team’s second win in its last 12 matches. Dallas (5-5-2, 19 points) saw its three-match winning streak end.
“I think first half especially we were really good,” Atlanta interim manager Stephen Glass said. “You could see the focus of the group and the real determination to not lose a goal nevermind get beat. That was great. It shows the strength of the group and the resiliency they’ve got.”
Atlanta scored the lone of the contest on Larentowicz’s penalty kick conversion in the 55th minute. Larentowicz’s right-footed shot down the right side went past Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer for the goal. The penalty was awarded after Dallas player Matt Hedges hit the ball with his hand in the penalty area minutes earlier.
It was Larentowicz’s 12th converted penalty kick in MLS and his first since September 11, 2015 when he was a player for the Chicago Fire.
Dallas had numerous scoring opportunities in the second half starting with Jesus Ferreira’s shot that was just high of the crossbar in the 71st minute. Santiago Mosquera’s cross into the penalty area required a diving save by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 73rd minute. Mosquera’s shot in the 81st minute was also retrieved on another diving save by Guzan.
Atlanta’s best scoring chance in the second half came on Laurence Wyke’s shot in the 89th minute that was saved by Maurer in the penalty area with the subsequent rebound retrieved by Eric Remedi but his shot was blocked by Hedges to eliminate the scoring opportunity.
Mosquera’s cross was caught by Guzan in the 94th minute in Dallas’s final scoring chance of the match.
“First and foremost it feels good to get back to winning ways,” Atlanta player Brooks Lennon said. “We’re coming off a lot of bad results so its good to see the group come together and get a win. I think its one fo those performance that may not look the prettiest but we got the job done.”
It was a goalless first half with Atlanta’s best scoring opportunities coming from Jack Mulraney. His header in the 18th minute was deflected wide and a direct right-footed shot was saved by Maurer in the 23rd minute.
Atlanta outshot Dallas 6-2 in the first half, led in open play crosses (17-6) and corners taken (5-2). Atlanta also had possession for 53.4 percent of the half and Dallas with a 46.6 percentage.
Jon Gallagher’s right-footed shot in the 50th minute required a jumping save by Maurer.
“It helps to look at what’s happening,” Larentowicz said. “Hopefully the team identity can become the growth of the players that we have. We’re a group of new and young players so the identity can become the growth of those players.”