Atlanta United’s winless streak in MLS reached nine with a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles FC on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The goal came from a deflected free kick after Brad Guzan received a red card in the 60th minute of the second half in front of an announced attendance of 43,128. Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said he didn’t agree with the decision to give a red card but didn’t want to elaborate on why. Guzan wasn’t in the locker room during the post-match open session.

It was Atlanta United’s (3-7-4) fourth loss at home this season, tying the single-season franchise record with nine games remaining at Mercedes-Benz. Atlanta United hasn’t won a game since late March and will go to Lionel Messi’s Miami on Wednesday where if it doesn’t win it will have gone two months and counting without a league victory.

It was the fifth time Atlanta United has been shut out in league matches this season. It has produced one goal in the past 434 minutes across league play and the U.S. Open Cup.

“Watching from the sidelines, it was good to see just everyone giving 100 percent and just unlucky with the goal,” centerback Derrick Williams said. “I think ... when things aren’t going your way they really don’t go your way.”

Pineda went with two strikers, Daniel Rios and Jamal Thiare, in the starting lineup for the first time this season. The wingers were Xande Silva, making his first start since March 31 at Chicago, and Saba Lobjanidze with Bartosz Slisz and Tristan Muyumba in the midfield, Stian Gregersen and Luis Abram as the centerbacks, Brooks Lennon and Caleb Wiley as the fullbacks, and Guzan in goal.

Leading scorer Giorgos Giakoumakis missed the match because of a hamstring injury. Thiago Almada made the lineup but didn’t start.

LAFC, for the first time this season, started with three centerbacks, which Pineda said they didn’t expect and affected Atlanta United’s plan.

With two strikers, Atlanta United attempted several early crosses with the intent of the players being able to attack the ball facing LAFC’s goal. Atlanta United didn’t score but it did result in corner kicks.

It didn’t, however, result in many shots. LAFC had 11 shots, four on goal, to Atlanta United’s 2 and 1 through 35 minutes.

Pineda said at times the strikers were occupying the same spaces instead of one making a run to the near post and the other to the middle or far post.

Rios missed Atlanta United’s best opportunity in the 36th minute when Lennon, after a pass from Lobjanidze, found him open yards from goal. Rios didn’t make clean contact, putting his shot wide.

Atlanta United had a few chances in transition but almost always would slow down the play and give LAFC’s defense a chance to set.

“I think we hit them a couple of times but then we were kind of not making the run behind,” Pineda said.

The game turned in the 56th minute when LAFC played a ball over Atlanta United’s backline. Guzan came out of the 18-yard box to challenge the onrushing Mateusz Bogusz for the ball. Guzan got there first and headed the ball but it hit Bogusz in the face and bounced back toward Atlanta United’s goal. Bogusz started to move past Guzan to chase the ball. Guzan’s right leg flared out and tripped Bogusz. After a lengthy review, referee Sergii Boiko gave a red card to Guzan for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. He was replaced by Josh Cohen. Almada also subbed in. Silva subbed off.

On the ensuing free kick, Bogusz’s free kick from 20 yards bounced off Thiare while he was in Atlanta United’s wall and flew slightly to the right past Cohen, who was moving to his right, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute.

Edwin Mosquera and Williams subbed on for Gregersen and Lobjanidze in the 72nd minute.

LAFC’s Eduard Atuesta received a second yellow card, and subsequent red, in the 81st minute for deliberately blocking Almada, who was trying to play a give-and-go with Muyumba near the top of LAFC’s 18-yard box.

Almada’s free kick from 22 yards hit the wall and bounced over the goal. It was the team’s last good chance to tie the match. Muyumba put one wide in the final seconds but LAFC’s Hugo Lloris appeared to have the shot covered.

Atlanta United finished with 15 shots, four on goal, to LAFC’s 14 and 5.

“I think there are phases in football, like in life, so I think we need to take the positive things even if we lose and try to do better every day and keep the focus on positives, always” Silva said.

Slisz quickly left the locker room after the match because of a prearranged personal matter. He likely won’t return until after Poland competes in the European Championships. Poland hasn’t released its full team but Slisz is presumed to be on it because he started on the team that clinched a spot in the tournament.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 Atlanta United 1, Chicago 1

May 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte Independence 0 in U.S. Open Cup

May 11 D.C. United 3, Atlanta United 2

May 15 Cincinnati 1, Atlanta United 0

May 18 Atlanta United 1, Nashville 1

May 21 Atlanta United 0 (5), Charleston 0 (4) in U.S. Open Cup

May 25 Los Angles 1, Atlanta United 0

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.