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Sophia Smith calls out NWSL snub of Thorns goalkeeper

Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby reacts to her goal against Angel City FC on Saturday. (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL made one glaring omission from its Player of the Week poll, if you ask Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith.

For the fifth matchweek, the league’s official Twitter account highlighted Orlando Pride forward Adriana, Kansas City Current forward Debinha, Chicago Red Stars defender Tatumn Milazzo and OL Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce in its poll on Monday.

Not included? Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby, despite her backheel equalizer in stoppage time to steal a standings point for her team. With her goal, Saturday’s match against Angel City FC ended in a 3-3 tie.

“So a goalkeeper scores a back heel and we are just gonna act like that’s a normal occurrence?” Smith tweeted in response to the poll, calling out Bixby’s absence from Player of the Week consideration.

Portland defender Kelli Hubly also joined in, replying to Smith: “You don’t see Bella do this weekly??”


Bixby became just the second goalkeeper in NWSL history to get on the scoreboard. She’s still soaking in her accomplishment, as she noted in several tweets of her own on Sunday — one humorous, one poignant.

“I still can’t believe it, but it’s like a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I gotta really absorb it,” Bixby said during her celebratory postgame lap at Portland’s Providence Park.