Just when D.C. United fans were preparing themselves for another goal-less performance on the road, an unlikely source provided some last minute heroics. Julius James picked a perfect time for his first goal of the year. “It was great, man” James said. “I was happy we were on the giving end of a late goal.”
As Julius indicated, several times this season, D.C. conceded late game winners, but the 81st minute game-winning goal from James has provided a small bit of joy in an entirely frustrating season. “Every individual needs a confidence boost at times, and winning is the best remedy for that. We’ve been working really, really hard and trying to keep each other positive. It’s difficult to do in a year like this, but the best thing that could happen to us is a win.”
James has been showing steady progress since the season began. Initially, James was considered a back-up defender for United. Yet, as injuries started to mount on the back line, James was ready to step in and made the most of his chance on the field. “It was very frustrating at first, but I kept my head down and I kept working hard. I showed everyone that I can go through adversity. I proved I’m the man for the job. I worked my way from not even being considered as a starter to starting a lot of games.”
Apart from the satisfaction of earning a road victory, James got a little bit of extra motivation for scoring his goal from his coach Ben Olsen. James, who has family in Toronto, had asked his coach for permission to stay behind in Toronto for an extra day. “I asked if I could stay an extra day in Toronto, he [Olsen] was like, 'yeah that’s fine.' Then he said, ‘If you score, I’ll give you two days off.’”
Take a look back at the goal and watch James’ celebration; you can clearly see him pointing to the United bench, at Ben Olsen. The message was clear, ‘I’ll see you on Tuesday’.