Even for the NWSL, Saturday night’s match between the Portland Thorns and Angel City featured an extraordinary number of chaotic twists and turns.

And none was bigger than the final play of the game. Trailing 3-2 in the seventh minute of five minutes of stoppage time, Portland Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby was sent to the opposing penalty box for a corner kick. Angel City keeper Didi Haracic managed to get her hands on the ball, but when it slipped through her fingers, Bixby made the most of the moment, scoring a backheel goal.

“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 post-game lap at Portland’s Providence Park.

Bixby is the second goalkeeper to score in NWSL history, joining Michelle Betos, who also salvaged a draw in stoppage time while playing for the Thorns in 2015.

With the draw, Portland remains unbeaten in regular season competition (3-0-2) and in first place in the NWSL standings with 11 overall points.

Saturday’s NWSL match was a back-and-forth battle. Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Thompson got Angel City off to an early lead in the 10th minute, scoring her second goal of the 2023 NWSL season. But when new Angel City signee Julie Ertz fouled Crystal Dunn in the box, Thorns midfielder Hina Sugita converted the penalty to draw the Thorns even 1-1.

Morgan Weaver gave Portland a 2-1 lead in the 65th minute, taking advantage of a beautifully placed pass from Olivia Moultrie.

After two quick set-piece goals from Angel City — a Thorns own goal (74′) and Julie Ertz header (79′) — the visitors appeared en route to a 3-2 win.

And then came Bella Bixby’s big moment.

“It was a rollercoaster of emotions,” Thorns coach Mike Norris told The Oregonian. “Angel City came with the energy and we didn’t match that structurally. It was disappointing and we addressed that at halftime and were happy with the second half response.

“We felt we were in control and then two set pieces were costly and we’re chasing the game again. But credit to the group for fighting and keeping composure.”

Michelle Betos has signed a two-year deal with NJ/NY Gotham FC, bringing the Queens native back to her hometown. Betos was previously waived by Racing Louisville in December.

“I can’t believe we managed to get Michelle here with us in Gotham FC,” said Head Coach Scott Parkinson. “She’s a competitor, has the highest standards professionally and will help us all understand what it means to play for and represent this community.”

Betos spent just one season in Louisville, starting in 20 matches and recording a league-second 96 saves. She revealed after her release that her plan was to retire in Louisville, saying that the city “felt like home.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining this club,” said Betos. “I have always dreamed of playing at home and Gotham FC just inherited 40+ crazy Italian fans at Red Bull Arena every weekend.”

Prior to her time with Racing, Betos spent seven seasons bouncing around the NWSL. She played in the inaugural NWSL season with then-Seattle Reign before making her way to Portland. There, she earned the 2015 Goalkeeper of the Year award and help the Thorns to the 2016 NWSL Shield. In 2015, she also became the first goalkeeper to score in NWSL history when she notched an equalizer in the 95th minute against then-FC Kansas City.

Betos then spent time overseas before returning to the Reign in 2018.

“I have such an incredible amount of respect for everyone in the organization from the top down, and I know their locker room is truly a special one,” added Betos. “The potential of this team is so exciting, and I believe we will achieve great things this season and beyond.”

Gotham has been active this offseason, trading away goalkeepers Kailen Sheridan to San Diego and Didi Haračić to Angel City while acquiring the NWSL’s all-time saves leader Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger in a deal with the Orlando Pride. In a deal with San Diego, the club also acquired Kristie Mewis. More recently, they locked down reigning Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco to a two-year contract.

NWSL preseason begins February 1. The 2022 season begins March 19 with group play for the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup.

After being released by Racing Louisville FC, goalkeeper Michelle Betos took to social media to thank the city of Louisville and reveal that she “never wanted to leave.”

“From the first day I got here, you felt like home,” she wrote. “Representing this city was truly an incredible honor, and captaining the side will always be one of my most meaningful achievements.

“I will never be able to express my gratitude to everyone who made this experience so special, but I do owe it to all of you to let you know that I never wanted to leave. When circumstances changed in the club, I still wanted to be here.”

Betos was a staple in the net for Louisville during the club’s inaugural season, making 20 appearances and logging a total of 96 saves – good for second in the league. But when the deadline came for teams to exercise options on contracts, Betos was released by the team.

“My plan was to retire here. To play out the best and last years of my career, and to leave this pace and these players better than when I found them,” she wrote, revealing that it has been “a really tough time for me.”

“I’m confident I will land on my feet and end up exactly where I am meant to be,” she continued. “Thank you for the memories, the lessons and the pride of representing this city. I will always carry them with me.”

Michelle Betos has high praise for Mario Sanchez, who was named interim head coach of Racing Louisville following the firing of Christy Holly.

“He’s super open to questions which we really appreciate,” Betos told the media Thursday. “Obviously during this time we’re gonna have a lot. He’s handled that really well. No ego, no anything.”

She added that his motto when it comes to approaching games has been to “‘go ‘effing win this’.”

But as Sanchez settles into his new role, more details have emerged about Holly’s firing, with Vice President of Development James O’Connor revealing the firing “happened pretty quickly.” He also did not dismiss that the firing could have been related to something illegal.

Racing Louisville is back in action on Saturday against the OL Reign at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Racing Louisville FC unveiled its new training facility via social media on Friday.

The expansion team joined the NWSL in 2021 and has played at Lynn Family Stadium since the club’s establishment.

Michelle Betos, Louisville’s goalkeeper, says elevated amenities, like the Lynn Family Sports Vision & Training Center, have changed what it means to be a professional in the NWSL.

“I entered the women’s professional league in 2013. We had a classroom as a locker room. We brought our clothes in. We wore them for training, then brought them home to clean them. That was my professional experience.”

“To be totally honest, it wasn’t until I came to Louisville that I felt like a true professional.”

Lousiville is part of a greater push for improved facilities in the NWSL, with clubs like Gotham FC kicking off the 2021 season in larger, more comprehensive stadiums.