Lappalainen ready to prove himself in MLS

20-year-old Finn joins Impact on loan from Bologna FC

Who is the Impact’s newest addition, Lassi Lappalainen? The 20-year-old Finn was officially introduced to the media, Thursday morning at Centre Nutrilait, joining the Impact on loan from Serie A club Bologna FC.

Now, Lappalainen is excited to get a few games under his belt on this side of the Atlantic.

“I want to play games,” explained Lappalainen, speaking with Impact Media. “Coming to MLS, it allows me to play better quality games than I would have in Finland. It’s a good step in my career, and if I can do well, I can move forward from there. Right now, I’m focused on playing games and making sure I perform well.”

Lappalainen was formally with Finnish club HJK Helsinki since 2015 before signing with Bologna FC. The young winger describes himself as someone who is quick with the ball at his feet, whether it’s regarding dribbling or passing, while also being one of the hardest workers in the room.

“He’s a young player with a lot of potential, who has a way of looking at the game that is interesting,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “Of course, he’s an offensive recruit. He’s a long-term project within the group. The sooner he can show us his quality, the better.”

The winger had been training with the club since the beginning of the week, getting to know his new teammates as he waited for his transfer to be made official. When it comes to first impressions, let’s say the new colleagues were fairly impressed.

“He looks like a good player,” said defender Daniel Lovitz. “He’s here for a reason and he’s going to add something to the team. I think it’ll be good for everyone.”

“He plays simple, with two touches, and he doesn’t complicate things,” said full-back Bacary Sagna. “He tries to keep things organized and he’s always between the lines. It’s too early to say more, but it’s good for the club and it’s a player who’s going to do us good.”

Young, but experienced

Lappalainen also recently made his debut with the Finland national team in 2019 against Liechtenstein, playing five Euro qualifying games thus far and helping his team secure the second rank of their group after four games, only losing to Italy, a game in which the young Finn featured in.

“Playing Italy with the national team was probably one of the better moments of my career thus far,” explained Lappalainen. “It was one of my first games with Finland. We lost, but just playing in that game was a fantastic opportunity. I got to face Bonucci and Chiellini as well, which are probably the two best players I’ve ever faced on the pitch.”

It’s also with the Finland national team that he got to know Impact full-back Jukka Raitala. Raitala joined the Impact in the beginning of the 2018 season via trade and is already playing an important role in making sure Lappalainen smoothly integrates into the squad.

Lappalainen will be available for action as soon as this Saturday, although it’s still unknown whether or not he’ll be included in Rémi Garde’s 18 when the Impact takes on the leaders in the East, the Philadelphia Union, in a crucial matchup for the Impact (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690).