Team meeting sparked Atlanta United to win

092320 Atlanta: Atlanta United interim coach Stephen Glass gives midfielder Jeff Larentowicz a fist bump celebrating a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas in a MLS soccer match on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 in Atlanta. Larentowicz scored the only goal of the match on a penalty kick. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

A team meeting composed of Atlanta United’s players and coaching staff Sunday may have sparked the team to its 1-0 win against Dallas on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The meeting, called by interim manager Stephen Glass, was to break down the myriad individual mistakes that resulted in a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami the night before. It turned into a “Come to Jesus” meeting with players speaking about what they thought was going well, what wasn’t and demanding that teammates buy in.

“It definitely it had a major impact on the performance of the guys tonight,” fullback Brooks Lennon said.

Atlanta United has been plagued by slow starts and individual mistakes in games this season. It came to a head in the previous two games, a 4-2 loss to Nashville and the loss to Miami.

Glass called the players in Sunday morning to “pick to death” the individual mistakes. Captain Jeff Larentowicz explained that in MLS, the margin between three points and none is very fine. Watching film, seeing that a lost 50-50 ball at midfield, or a wrong decision at the wrong time, led to goals.

“It really got recognition that difference in winning and losing is fine,” Larentowicz said.

Against Dallas, those mistakes weren’t noticeable. The players communicated with each other on the field. It could be heard on the television broadcast throughout the game. Whether defending set pieces, dead balls, counter attacks or build-up play, Dallas seldom had an easy opportunity to score. The team finished with five chances created and just one shot on goal.

“Sometimes, you can get away with it and it doesn’t result in a goal," Glass said. "But when a lot of things happen and it turns into a goal, people see the impact of what they feel like are minor mistakes. There were so many last week, that it was an opportune moment to point a lot. The players took that on board tonight and you saw people learning from their mistakes, which is what you want to see happen.”

Atlanta United coming games

Sunday at Chicago (2-7-3), 7:30 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 3 at D.C. United (2-5-5), 7 p.m., FSS

Oct. 7 vs. Orlando (6-2-4), 7 p.m., FSS

Oct. 10 vs. New York Red Bulls (4-6-2), 6 p.m., FSS

Oct. 14 at Miami (3-7-2), 8 p.m., FSS

Oct. 18 at Toronto (6-2-4) in Hartford, Conn., 7:30 p.m., FSS

Oct. 24 vs. D.C. United (2-5-5), 4 p.m., FSS

Oct. 28 at Orlando (6-2-4), 7:30 p.m., FS1

Nov. 1 vs. Cincinnati (3-6-3), 7 p.m., FSS

Nov. 8 at Columbus (8-1-3), 3:30 p.m., FSS

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