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Impact Players Prepare to Clash in Kansas City

As most of the international tournaments take a break today, the Gold Cup and AFCON have the stage all to themselves.

MLS: New York City FC at Montreal Impact
Impact’s Omar Browne hopes to face the USA and team-mate Daniel Lovitz, this evening in Kansas City.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

While for Impact followers, it’s a welcome resumption of normal business this evening with the visit of Portland Timbers, two of their team’s normal match day squad are preparing in opposite camps for tonight’s main event in Gold Cup play.

Neither Daniel Lovitiz, nor Omar Browne have featured much in the tournament so far, but each will be ready if called upon to step into the breach this evening. Lovitz has yet to emerge from the bench, Browne has done so once, in the 89th minute of Panama’s 2-0 opening game success over Trinidad.

A glance at the history of the USA - Panama fixture suggests that the Stars and Stripes are nailed on for victory, although a draw will be enough for them to secure the easier quarter-final spot against Curacao, who dramatically qualified last evening.

Panama has recorded a couple of Gold Cup successes over the USA, defeating them on penalties in the third-place match four years ago, and 2-1 in the group stages in 2011, but success against one of the region’s powerhouses has been few and far between.

The Gold Cup’s other game this evening is merely academic. Guyana, tournament debutants will be delighted should they record an unlikely win over under-achieving Trinidad & Tobago who have been dreadful, which may add some parity to this dead-rubber.

Across on another continent, a third Impact player is involved in this afternoon’s game between Uganda and Zimbabwe at Cairo International Stadium. Michael Azira will be hoping to add to his fine display in the opener, when his Ugandan side upset the more fancied DR Congo, winning 2-0.

Ugandan players celebrate Patrick Kaddu’s opening goal against DR Congo. The Cranes and Michael Azira, will advance to the quarter-finals with a win today over Zimbabwe.

The match-up with The Warriors gives Uganda its best chance of a knock-out spot. Win and they will advance, any other result leaves things in the balance, and with hosts Egypt to come in the last match in the group, they will prefer to have business concluded today.

DR Congo would have gone into the tournament fancied to advance from this group along with the hosts, however Egyptian fervour and frenzy may prove too much for them tonight. A defeat sees them on the early boat home, but any type of positive result extends their interest to the third group game.

Egypt were fast out of the blocks against Zimbabwe in their opener, but still only had Mahmoud Trezeguet’s curled shot to show for their endeavours, as The Warriors put up a creditable performance.

In the third of todays’ AFCON contests, Nigeria take on Guinea. Both countries were expected to advance from this group, however Syli Nationale flopped against newcomers Madagascar, needing a 66th penalty to earn a share of the spoils.

A defeat against Nigeria will put the Guineans into even deeper trouble, allowing both Madagascar and Burundi who meet tomorrow, the glimpse of an opportunity to advance and create history. Both nations are making their finals debut, and advancement will be viewed as a major achievement.

Today’s Games & Where to Watch Them (all EST) -
1030 - Nigeria v Guinea - African Cup of Nations - BeIN Sports Canada, DAZN
1300 - Uganda v Zimbabwe - African Cup of Nations - BeIN Sports Canada, DAZN
1600 - Egypt v DR Congo - African Cup of Nations - BeIN Sports Canada, DAZN
1830 - Trinidad & Tobago v Guyana - Gold Cup - TSN2,, TSN GO, CONCACAF GO
2100 - Panama v USA - Gold Cup - TSN2,, TSN GO, CONCACAF GO, RDS2, RDS GO