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The inaugural Concacaf Nations League offers many of the region’s smaller nations to convene and benefit from more competitive matches on the calendar than ever before. There are sure to be surprise stories such as Haiti and Curacao at this summer’s Gold Cup, but an added bonus is the opportunity to bring new faces into the fold.
Trinidad & Tobago are one such outfit using the competition as a chance to include multiple players who have never appeared at the senior level. On Tuesday it was announced that head coach Dennis Lawrence had secured the services of three uncapped players for their upcoming Nations League matches against. All born outside of Trinidad & Tobago, Ryan Telfer, Daniel Carr, and Andre “Dre” Fortune bring international club experience to the table and give can their new side a massive boost against League A, Group C opponents Honduras and Martinique.
Ryan Telfer | York9 FC
The Canadian-born winger kicked off his professional career for his hometown Mississauga Eagles FC before eventually making his way to Toronto FC in 2018. There he made 16 appearances before the Reds elected to loan him out to York9 in the Canadian Premier League, where he has really found his footing; he has seven goals to his name across all competitions after scoring just once for the MLS side.
Telfer’s family left Trinidad & Tobago for Canada when he was still an infant, but he returned years later for college. The 25-year-old can bring an added punch on the Soca Warriors’ flank with tremendous versatility, as he is able to drop back and play a more traditional left midfield or left back role if needed. He may be left-footed by nature, but Telfer can be just as lethal when left in space on his right.
Daniel Carr | Apollon Limassol
Carr may only be 25, but he has already made stops at 13 clubs in four different countries thus far in his relatively young career. Make of that what you will, but he has been quite productive in front of goal throughout his last three brief stints for Leatherhead FC (eight goals), Karlstad BK (eight goals), and Shamrock Rovers (11 goals) since 2017 before joining Cyprus-based outfit Apollon Limassol in August.
The English-born striker will look to have an immediate impact for a side that struggled to produce in the final third en route to a last-place group finish at the Gold Cup. They managed a single goal in three matches, so Lawrence might be willing to throw Carr right into the mix in the hopes of rejuvenating an attack that can lead Trinidad and Tobago to the top of Group C.
Andre 'Dre' Fortune | North Carolina FC
The youngest of the trio at 23 years of age, Fortune has been producing at a high level in his third year at North Carolina FC in the United States’ second tier. While the previous two players are unknown commodities on the international stage, Fortune has previously represented Trinidad & Tobago at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels.
“I was keeping my eyes on him,” said the manager concerning the attacking midfielder. “He’s been doing relatively well for North Carolina in the USL. I thought Andre deserves a selection in the squad so we introduced him to the group.”
Fortune’s seven goals in 20 league appearances are a big reason North Carolina FC currently sit above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. If he can harness that same form for country, Trinidad & Tobago’s chances of taking the group and being a formidable challenge in the knockout stage will increase exponentially.
Fortune favors the brave ?— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 15, 2019
Andre Fortune lines up a shot from the edge of the box & nearly bursts the back of the net to put @NorthCarolinaFC up against @RichmondKickers.
1-0 | #USOC2019 pic.twitter.com/Ub1dUDJpWU
Take a look at Fortune’s blistering goal in the U.S. Cup in May.