West's Perez twins have opponents seeing double
March 24, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.
Updated March 23, 2013 at 10:24 p.m.
Diego and Ernesto Perez do not have a catchy nickname.
People just call them the Perez twins.
But that works for the two 17-year-olds who form two-thirds of the attack for the Victoria West boys soccer team.
Ernesto, the Warriors center forward, is younger by 20 minutes. His twin is West's left winger. Combined, the pair have scored 21 goals and assisted 11 others.
Diego said the key to this year's team hasn't been what he and his brother have done, but the Warriors' ability to control the midfield and not allow goals. In 23 games the Warriors have conceded 11 times.
However, the defense starts up top. Ernesto and Diego, as well as right wing Edward Rodriguez, frequently track back to apply pressure on opposing midfielders.
"I know where he's going to be, and he knows what I expect," said Ernesto, who has 11 goals and four assists. "Sometimes we argue, but we get over it. At the end of the day, we're twins."
The two juniors are the latest members of their family to take to the beautiful game. Their father, David, played in his younger years and they have a brother, Manuel, who played for Memorial.
"Our parents, it's something they offered to us," Ernesto said. "We always played when we were little, but when we signed up when we were 6 years old, we were excited."
This year, it's been the twins providing the excitement for others.
One, or both, of the twins will have to be at their best Monday night when the Warriors (18-3-2) face Flour Bluff in the Class 4A bi-district playoffs. West is 16-0-0 when one of the twins provides either a goal or an assist.
"We're going to take it one game at a time," Ernesto said. "We can't think about the second game when we have Flour Bluff. Last year, we surprised them, and they may do it to us."
Monday's game is a rematch of last year's bi-district playoffs, but this time the Warriors are the district champions and the Hornets are the No. 4 seed.
Ernesto said the 3-1 win over the Hornets last year was one of his best soccer memories. He scored the opening goal in that win.
The Warriors, though, are a much different and more consistent team than the one that pulled the upset on March 30, 2012, the brothers said.
"The pressure is on us because they expect us to win," Diego said. "We're going to have to give it 100 percent and hope to bring a win back."
The two juniors have been on the varsity each of the last three years. However, their playing time has increased this year and they are making the most of it.
"They are attackers," said West coach Bill Tally. "They want the ball. They want to score and they are both good on either leg. Having them on the field all the time they are stepping up, starting and playing more minutes. That's the difference I see this year."
Both are fans of the team Real Madrid. When asked who their favorite player is, both mentioned a Los Merengues player who happened to play the same position as they did. Diego prefers Cristiano Ronaldo, while his twin said his favorite player is Hugo Sanchez.
Though the conversation drifted toward admiration for Lionel Messi's game, the twins say they do not pattern their game after any player in particular.
If there is one thing the peerless Perez twins share with that trio of legends is a forward's mentality when bearing down on goal. Most good forwards are a bit selfish when it comes to taking and making chances, and both boys said that is their approach on the field.
That doesn't mean there have not been enough goals to go around this year.
Their cousin, Hector Mendoza, has scored 10 goals this year, Rodriguez has chipped in four more and there are 10 teammates who have scored at least once this season.
"It helps having weapons," Tally said. "It makes it tough for the other team to scheme. .If there is just one (player) they can focus on that guy and squeeze in. if you have to keep track of two or three.
"Plus, it's good for the locker room. They don't mind if you score or I score or he scores. . They all want to score, but no one is jealous of anyone. We all want to win. Our focus this year has been winning."