Soccer

Republic FC home opener vs. rival Galaxy II to get TV time

Rob McAllister and Kevin Goldthwaite
Rob McAllister and Kevin Goldthwaite rbenton@sacbee.com

The Republic FC broadcast team of Kevin Goldthwaite and Rob McAllister couldn’t ask for a better way to make their 2015 television debut than with a rivalry match.

Republic FC is playing its USL home opener Saturday against the LA Galaxy II at Bonney Field. So the broadcasters will have plenty of material to work with in what will be the first of at least eight Republic FC regular-season matches to be televised this season on Ch. 31 or Ch. 13.

“We were happy to see the Galaxy II as the home opener,” said Goldthwaite, a former Christian Brothers High School star who played seven seasons with five teams in Major League Soccer. “Four of their six matches (against each other) have been decided by one goal and one other was a tie. You’ve got that NorCal vs. SoCal and Kings vs. Lakers rivalry angles that we can parlay off.”

Saturday’s broadcast on Ch. 31 begins at 7 p.m. with a half-hour pregame show.

The last Bonney Field meeting between Republic FC and Galaxy II was a USL playoff semifinal in September that morphed into the “Miracle at Bonney.” Rodrigo Lopez’s late hat trick enabled Republic FC to rally for a stunning 3-2 victory. The YouTube highlight video from McAllister’s and Goldthwaite’s live stream broadcast is still a huge hit.

The buzz from that match led to McAllister and Goldthwaite landing a Ch. 31 broadcasting gig for Republic FC’s 2-0 championship win over the Harrisburg City Islanders the next weekend.

Like the first-year soccer franchise, the two were making their maiden voyages as soccer announcers. Play-by-play man McAllister was an experienced television/radio reporter with limited soccer knowledge. Color analyst Goldthwaite had lots of soccer insights but no broadcasting experience.

But they clicked immediately, their work was well received, and they love what they do, though it remains a part-time thing. McAllister is a vice president for Halldin Public Relations in Rocklin; Goldthwaite sells commercial real estate for Colliers International.

“I’m just letting the wind take me with this,” Goldthwaite said. “I’m just trying to get better every week, and I’m keeping both avenues, real estate and broadcasting, open. Rob and I are having a blast right now.”

Both also are busy doing their homework. The USL has dramatically changed in one season, going from a 14-team league to a 24-team, two-conference league in less than a year. There are now eight MLS-affiliated teams, whereas there was just the Galaxy II last season.

Five of the eight telecasts feature MLS-affiliated teams, including another matchup against the Galaxy II on July 11 on Ch. 13. Any Republic FC playoff matches will be broadcast, and team spokeswoman Erika Bjork said a U.S. Open Cup match or friendly could be added depending on “costs and schedule.”

“There’s been a ton of change over the last year,” Goldthwaite said. “With Seattle, Portland and others coming in, it’s definitely added a different character to the USL. It’s made it more of a challenge.”

While Republic FC is off to a 1-2 start after losses to Seattle and Portland and another dramatic 3-2 stoppage-time win over the Galaxy II in Carson, Goldthwaite said fans shouldn’t hit the panic button.

“Republic FC has been killed by injuries the last two months,” Goldthwaite said. “And like most teams in the USL, Republic FC has had quite a bit of turnover. It takes awhile for new players to get acclimated with (coach) Preki’s systematic and regimented style.

“It wasn’t until after the first third of the season last year that they started playing well.”

Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

REPUBLIC FC ON TV

The schedule for eight Republic FC televised regular-season home matches

▪ Saturday,

7:30 p.m. vs. L.A., Ch. 31

▪ April 18,

7:30 p.m. vs. Portland, Ch. 31

▪ June 6,

8 p.m vs. Austin, Ch. 31

▪ June 20,

8 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City, Ch. 31

▪ July 11,

8 p.m. vs. L.A.,

Ch. 13

▪ Aug. 1,

8 p.m. vs. Seattle, Ch. 31

▪ Aug. 22,

8 p.m. vs. Real Monarchs, Ch. 31

▪ Sept. 19,

7:30 p.m. vs. Arizona, Ch. 31

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