Orlando City has hit an important part of the schedule, with six games over the next month heading into the two-week break for the Copa America this summer.
The Lions are also halfway through their home-and-home-ish series with the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls. The Lions played to a 2-2 draw against the Revs at home last weekend and on Sunday night fell to New York, 3-1, at Red Bull Arena. Now Orlando City heads into the second leg, so to speak, of its fixtures against the two clubs, with the next two matches, again, against New England and New York.
This time, the Lions will head to Gillette Stadium to take on the Revs, while in two weeks the Red Bulls will travel down South for a rematch in the newly renamed Camping World Stadium.
Orlando City has faced plenty of tough competition since entering the league last season, but this second go-around in such sort time will be another important test for the club as it fights for its first playoff berth in MLS.
Playoffs are about finding the best team to determine a champion. Most sports have playoffs series, and sometimes it's not the best team that advances through each series, but the smarter, more prepared team. The team that can learn from its mistakes in the previous matchup and apply those lessons to the next game.
And that's where this becomes relevant for Orlando.
In the MLS Cup playoffs, the conference semifinal and final rounds are each a two-leg series, with aggregate goals deciding the winner, similar to the Champions' League.
Coming off a draw and loss--and in both cases, not the best play we've seen from Orlando City--the Lions will be looking to rebound with better performances in the next two match against teams they're much more familiar with.
Against New England, the team looked awful for the first 45 minutes before bringing on Cyle Larin and Kevin Molino on in the second half to spark some life into the attack.
There were plenty of things in that match the Lions could have done better to deal with New England, and some of those adjustments that need to be made were actually laid out here on our site yesterday.
The circumstances a certainly different this time around, even with the short time in between games. Larin and Molino are certain to start this weekend. The Lions were also missing Cristian Higuita due to injury, and his absence really hurt in the midfield. He'll be in the lineup this weekend, too.
And the storylines against New York in two weeks will be the same as well.
This time around, it's on Adrian Heath to make those adjustments he would have to make in order to survive a playoff series. How the team looks in its next two games might be used in judgement for how this team stacks up heading into the playoffs.