Atlanta United 1, FC Dallas 0 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
The decisive moments of the game came early in the second half, as Dallas defender Matt Hedges was penalized for a handball in his own box following a Video Review. Larentowicz cooly dispatched the resulting penalty, which proved enough for Atlanta to claim a hard-fought win.
The home side edged Dallas in both possession and the quality of their attacking play in the first 45 minutes, though didn't completely limit the visitors, who forced Brad Guzan into several heads-up plays despite not putting a shot on target. The Five Stripes had a mild penalty shout for handball on Ryan Hollingshead in the 20th minute, and Jake Mulraney tested Jimmy Maurer in the Dallas goal with two firm shots shortly thereafter.
Atlanta started the second half once again on the front foot and were rewarded almost immediately on a 51st-minute corner kick, where Hedges was penalized for a handball following Video Review, allowing Larentowicz the opportunity to put his team up from the spot.
FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez opted to rest some of his regular starters, including Franco Jara, Santiago Mosquera and Bryan Reynolds but brought the trio on with just over 20 minutes ago in an effort to turn things in Dallas' favor. Reynolds teed up Jesus Ferreira almost immediately for an effort that went just over, and Mosquera had a decent look 10 minutes from time but was not able to get enough on his curling effort to seriously test Brad Guzan. Atlanta nearly iced the game late on, only for Eric Remedi to be denied by a last-ditch block from Hedges.
- 55' — ATL — Jeff Larentowicz | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The win was the first for ATLUTD since Aug. 22 against Nashville, and they got it done without any of their Designated Players, after Ezequiel Barco missed a second straight game with a leg injury. That's not to say the return of Atlanta's high-end attackers won't be welcomed, but it should be a heartening moment for a squad that has been struggling to find its way. A young Dallas side gave a good account of themselves, but couldn't generate any consistent pressure against the home side — there will be better days ahead for them, though.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In a match lacking clear-cut opportunities, the biggest talking point will be the penalty awarded to Atlanta United. The handball on Hedges was not initially whistled (and led to a spectacular overhead effort that Larentowicz narrowly missed), but after a Video Review referee Timothy Ford awarded the penalty, presenting Atlanta with their clearest chance of the game.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: He got the goal, dealt with FC Dallas danger man Andres Ricaurte and led the way for Atlanta United: it's Jeff Larentowicz. Fernando Meza was also excellent on his return to the center of Atlanta's backline.