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Can the Dynamo win one for De La Hoya?

Martin Rogers
Yahoo Sports

CARSON, Calif. – Oscar De La Hoya has promised to help the Houston Dynamo deliver the knockout blow to the heavily favored Los Angeles Galaxy in Sunday's MLS Cup final.

De La Hoya, the boxing legend turned promoter, owns a minority stake in the Texas club. He plans to visit the Dynamo locker room in the buildup to the clash at the Home Depot Center in an attempt to motivate his players to spring a major upset.

"I will definitely be going in there to give the guys a motivational speech," De La Hoya said in a telephone conversation with Yahoo! Sports. "The Galaxy has great players but I believe in our team and what they are capable of.

"They have the hunger and belief to win the trophy and I think that a few words from my own experiences as an Olympian and a world champion can help them a little bit."

The Dynamo suffered a huge blow when influential midfielder Brad Davis was declared out with a quad injury. The Galaxy, meanwhile, are expected to have their star trio of David Beckham – just named the MLS comeback player of the year – Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane fit for action.

De La Hoya, who now operates Golden Boy Promotions and stages some of the biggest events in the fight game, acquired a 25-percent stake in the Dynamo in 2008, alongside partners the Brener International Group. The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) – which also owns the Galaxy – holds a 50-percent share.

The final has produced mixed emotions for De La Hoya, who was raised in East Los Angeles and would, in any other circumstances, back the Galaxy.

"I am from L.A. and I always love to see the L.A. teams do well," he said. "It is my home and I love the city, but on Sunday my heart will bleed Dynamo orange.

"If you see a guy out there in the stands with his face painted orange and jumping around with the fans, that is probably me. I love the atmosphere and passion of soccer and I can't wait for the game.

"I will be cheering them on as loud as anybody, and if we win I will be back in the locker room drinking milk out of the MLS Cup."

Houston won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007, but coach Dominic Kinnear has had to cope with the departures of star players Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark. The team's performances in the playoffs have been outstanding, however, especially its triumph at Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference final.

"I know as an athlete how important it is to feel comfortable with your coach or trainer," De La Hoya said. "You can tell instantly the level of respect the Dynamo guys have for Dominic Kinnear and how badly they want to get results for him.

"The last two months of the season Dominic really turned it up and got the team moving. Just like in boxing, now we are going into the championship rounds and I am hoping for a Dynamo knockout."