Newcastle's shaky back four looked like they were in mid-season form from last season, going 2-0 down to a very aggressive Club Atlas side. They showed a strong fighting spirit and nearly pulled off the comeback.
Newcastle came out in full attack from the opening whistle. The 2nd minute saw Gouffran get on the end of a Siem de Jong chip over the back line, forcing Atlas goalkeeper Miguel Pinto to make a save on his short side. They came right back at the Liga MX side in the 5th minute, with Janmaat playing a quick 1-2 with Sissoko. His shot was weak on the ground, and Pinto easily swallowed it.
It was Atlas who opened up scoring in Milwaukee. Krul's errant kick out of bounds led to a Eisner Loboa throw. The build-up, including a perfect backheel pass from Juan Carlos Medina to Christian Tabo, springing new striker Gonzalo Bergessio. Bergessio was tripped by Lascelles and was awarded a penalty. Bergessio converted on the penalty, netting his first goal in an Atlas shirt.
Atlas went up 2-0 in the 17th minute on a wonderful strike from Bergessio. He netted a side-footed volley from just outside the 18 yard box on a Tabo chip over Mike Williamson's head.
It was nearly 3-0 after 22 minutes after Bergessio had a golden opportunity to seal a hat trick. He received a perfect pass for a one-touch chip over Lascelles' head and beat Krul. It went off the face of the crossbar, and Zarate collected the rebound. Krul made the initial save, and Lascelles cleaned up on the rebound.
Newcastle best chance came off a tackle/spin-o-rama from Siem de Jong at midfield in the 39th minute. Yoan Gouffran, Papiss Cisse, and Moussa Sissoko contributed to the very quick build-up. Sissoko's cross to Cisse was picture perfect, but Cisse was not in position to put any power behind his header that dribbled into the side netting.
Newcastle nearly halved the lead with a good bit of side to side attack work from the midfield. Massadio Haidara drew three defenders near the corner of the penalty area, feeding a pass back to Gouffran, who found Jack Colback wide open 25 yards out whose low shot narrowly missed the far post.
Injury time was a long bout of possession from Atlas. Their long string of passes drew "Ole"s from the Mexican side's fans, including some cocky backheels and passes behind the back. The cockiness cost them a goal as center back Walter Kannemann directed a pass directly at Jack Colback, springing Cisse and Sissoko on a 2-on-1. Cisse fed Sissoko after drawing the lone defender and the goalkeeper, giving him an easy tap in to bring the score back to 2-1 at the stroke of halftime.
Halftime saw a lone sub, as Tim Krul gave way to Karl Darlow in goal.
Newcastle's opening scoring chance in the 2nd half came in the 50th minute. Haidara put a Jack Colback cross in the box to nobody, missing Cisse's run by a long shot. Atlas keeper was quick to snag it in mid-air. Atlas quickly went back down the field with a quick 1-2 between Tabo and Bergessio, but Mike Williamson was quick to clear to safety.
Newcastle kept the pressure on for the next few minutes and generated a trio of scoring chances. The first chance came in the 54th minute off a free kick deep in the attacking third. The Colback free kick found its way to Gouffran's right foot, and it was deflected by an Atlas defender for a corner.
The ensuing corner drew the sole point of controversy of the match. The line drive corner to the near post was perfectly met by Cisse was headed to the near bottom corner. Atlas keeper Pinto got down to make the save, but it looked clearly over the line. The replay in the stadium clearly showed the ball hitting Pinto in the side while he was in the goal.
The Magpies came down again in the 58th minute. Most of their attack was down the left hand side, but this involved Janmaat on the right side. Janmaat combined with de Jong and Sissoko, who fed him in the middle of the box with a bouncing pass. De Jong's attempt to one-time the bouncer was pushed wide of the far post, resulting in another golden opportunity squandered.
The right hand attack happened again in the 60th minute. Janmaat made the run up the right hand, this time with a give and go with Sissoko. He combined with Colback and Sissoko on a string of passes, and then pushed a shot over the bar.
The match took a turn for the physical side, as Walter Kannemann was booked in the 61st minute for a reckless challenge on Vurnon Anita near the benches. Colback was booked shortly afterward in the 64th minute for his trip from behind on Kannemann.
Our first round of subs came in the 72nd minute. Atlas made a pair of changes, with Luis Caballero and Carlos Arreola replacing Kannemann and Bergessio. Newcastle made more wholesale changes. Off came Sissoko, Anita, Cisse, de Jong, Gouffran, Haidara, and Janmaat, and on came Newcastle's entire bench: Rolando Aarons, Ayoze Perez, Gabriel Obertan, Adam Armstrong, Shane Ferguson, and Gael Bigirimana.
Their presence was immediately felt. Ayoze was brought down in a dangerous free kick spot in the 77th minute, but the call never came.
Obertan also created a solid opportunity with a blazing run down the right side in the 80th minute. He beat two defenders and fed Armstrong in the box. Armstrong could not make the turn toward goal. He dropped it back to Colback, who made a pass to nobody, resulting in a goal kick.
Atlas made two more subs around this time, swapping Rodolfo Salinas for captain Aldo Ramirez in the 78th minute, and martin Barragan came on for Christian Tabo in the 81st.
Newcastle created another string of goal scoring opportunities in the 84th, 85th, 86th, and in extra time. All of them were defended. The match ended in an Atlas 2-1 victory.