MEXICO CITY -- During this Liguilla edition, Oscar "Conejo" Perez became the oldest footballer to play in a playoff match at 43-years-old and three months.
He's taken part in five finals but was only able to win one of them in the 1997 Invierno with Cruz Azul. Since then, Perez and Cruz Azul haven't lifted a league title.
Meanwhile, Monterrey's Jonathan Orozco has participated in four finals and has won two of them in the 2010 Apertura and 2009 Apertura. In the following days, Perez and Orozco will be fundamental figures for their clubs as Monterrey hopes to win its fifth Liga MX title, while Los Tuzos its sixth.
When Perez decides to retire, he will be regarded as a phenomenal goalkeeper not because of his displays, or the fact that he participated in three World Cups, but because he always took himself as a professional. Perez never acted pompous in front of cameras or thought of himself as too important when he walked through the mixed zone.
Orozco is only 30-years-old yet he possesses an impressive resume, which includes Liga MX titles and CONCACAF Champions League cups. He's one of Rayados' favorite players for the simple reason that he's made all of his career at the same club. It's not easy to find those cases in Liga MX, just ask goalkeepers like Alfredo Talavera, Jose de Jesus Corona or Moises Munoz, who have made moves in their careers to consolidate them.
In Monterrey, little kids who support Monterrey sometimes call Orozco "Spider-Man" simply because he has a spider-web tattoo that covers most of his left arm. The tattoo is a blueprint of Spider-Man's suit that it appears as if underneath his football kit, he's dressed as the superhero.
Both "Conejo" and Orozco made immense saves in the quarterfinals and semifinals, and it could be said that they have been this Liguilla's best goalkeepers. Against Tigres in the quarterfinals, Orozco frustrated Tigres' attackers -- Rafael Sobis, Javier Aquino, Damian Alvarez and Andre-Pierre Gignac -- during the first-leg of the series.
What was impressive about that match is that during most of the second half at Tigres' El Volcan, Orozco felt noticeable pain on his lower back; nonetheless, he continued and since then, he's helped La Pandilla defeat this season's CCL champion, Club America, and runner-up, Tigres.
For Perez, playing against Leon in the semifinals might have felt like a chance to prove once more why he's one of Mexico's most consistent goalkeepers.
In the 2014 Clausura, Leon defeated Pachuca in the final and Perez was Los Tuzos' goalkeeper, while William Yarbrough protected Leon's goal. At the time, Yarbrough was 25, while "Conejo" was 41.
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In the recent semifinal series, Pachuca won on an aggregate of 3-2, and Perez had multiple saves that marked the series; however, this super save in the first-leg of the series prevented Leon from taking home a 2-1 victory. It was undoubtedly one of the best saves of the 2016 Clausura.
The last time "Conejo" Perez lifted a Liga MX title, Pachuca's captain, Erick Gutierrez was a toddler, as was Hirving "Chucky" Lozano and Rodolfo Pizarro. Perez hasn't given precise details of when he will call it quits, but he already surpassed goalkeepers like Rene Higuita, who retired at 42, Edwin van der Sar, at 41, and Lev Yashin, at 42.
Monterrey versus Pachuca will be a final, where both clubs will have Mexican goalkeepers defending their goals, something that hadn't occurred since that final between Pachuca and Leon, where Perez and Yarbrough were in goal.
It will be a final where once again it will evidence that Mexico is a country with great goalkeepers. "Conejo" Perez is the best example, and as Orozco recently declared: "I see him [Conejo] like good wine; the older the better."