The Rochester Lady Lancers secured their first point in their history against the New York Magic (Photo courtesy of the Lady Lancers)

By Michael Lewis Editor

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As time was running out of the New York Magic’s season opener Sunday, Sierra Bonham faced more pressure than a goalkeeper would ever welcome.

Deep into stoppage time of the United Women’s Soccer game, Rochester Lady Lancers forward Taylor Wingerden was about attempt a penalty kick that would decide a 1-1 encounter. Wingerden had been fouled in the area and decided to take the kick in the expansion team’s very first home game at the Wegman’s Sports Complex at Aquinas Institute.

Bonham wasn’t happy with call, but instead of letting her emotions rule, the former North Dakota State keeper studied her foe.

“Well, first I was thinking stupid penalty, but that’s all right,” Bonham said. “I was just focusing on that player and figuring out where she was going to go.”

As both players set up, Bonham noticed Wingerden was a left-footed shooter.

“Typically I am used to right footed strikers, so i was a little thrown off at first,” she said. “I was just trying to process and slow it down as much as possible and think what a left-footed striker would do. Her hips told me she was going to my right and So I went there.”

There was to her right as Bonham dove and knocked the shot away. Second later, the game was called and both teams walked off the field with a 1-1 draw.

“I was thinking it’s the 93rd minute, this needs to go in,” Wingerden told “I didn’t get as much on it as I wanted but I think she picked the right place to dive.”

Bonham and the Magic spoiled the Lady Lancers’ inaugural home game after they dropped their first two matches on the road last week, a 6-1 to New Jersey Copa FC and 5-0 to the New England Mutiny.

After struggling to an 0-8-2 mark last season, the Magic needed an early-season boost and a road draw and encouraging start could be the right tonic.

“I think [it’s] super important,” Bonham said. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t get three points but every point matters at the end of season. So where we can pick them up, we want to.”

Magic head coach Nino DiPasquali admitted he was at a disadvantage entering the match.

“It’s very difficult,” he said. “I put on the field four players that I had never seen before in my life. It’s not easy, not for me and not for the team.”

While his team brought home a valuable point, DiPasquali felt there was plenty room for improvement.

“We have some luck in defense,” he said. “Offensively, unfortunately we’re weak so I have to adjust.”

The Lady Lancers forced the action and were unlucky not to take in a 3-1 halftime advantage.

Wingerden was the most dangerous player with several close calls, including hitting the crossbar midway through the first half.

Rochester struck pay dirt in the 32nd minute as Kara Shue’s pass set up Alex Antetomaso for the first home goal in Lady Lancers’ history.

The hosts’ celebrations, however, did not last that long. Only four minutes later, Reny Viviana Roncancio Farfan converted a corner kick by Mami Yamaguchi past keeper Catie Broderick (four saves) in the 36th minute.

That set up one dramatic ending for Bonham, who finished with six saves.

No. 6, as it turned out, was a doozy.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at