Lassi Lappalainen's debut with the Montreal Impact was better than even he could have imagined. Now, he tries to follow it up on the road against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Finnish midfielder scored twice against the Philadelphia Union on July 27 as the Impact snapped a four-match losing streak with a 4-0 victory against the Eastern Conference leaders.
"In my dreams, I had scored only one goal in my debut," said Lappalainen, who was named the MLS Player of the Week. "It wasn't like in my dream, but this is still pretty good."
Lappanainen, who joined the Impact on July 25 on loan from Italy's Bologna FC, scored the opening goal just four minutes into the match and added his second in the first minute of the second half.
"Everyone dreams of such a debut," Impact coach Remi Garde said. "I'm happy for him. He confirmed that he's not only fast, but that he has technical qualities to combine with his teammates in the run of play. He's someone who thinks a lot of his positioning. There's not much else to say. It's encouraging. He set the bar high ... but he has a lot of potential and we're happy to be working with him."
The Impact (10-11-3, 33 points) are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point above the playoff cutoff line.
The Rapids (5-12-5, 20 points), who are in last place in the Western Conference, are mired in a four-match winless streak. They suffered a 3-1 loss at San Jose on July 27, never recovering after conceding an own goal by Lalas Abubakar in the second minute.
The Rapids got a glimpse of their future this week, as 17-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett scored the clinching shootout goal as the MLS Homegrown Team defeated Chivas' U-20 team 3-2. Colorado defender Sam Vines also scored in the shootout.
"It's nice that the Colorado boys took two of the three shots," Bassett told The Denver Post. "We each came up with confidence and put it in the back of the net to finish it off."
A fireworks show scheduled after Saturday's match has been canceled because of plague-infested fleas affecting prairie dog colonies around Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.