Thorns’ Bixby reveals heartbreaking tragedy

Bella Bixby of the Portland Thorns

Bella Bixby’s father died by suicide last week, something she said she couldn’t hold in anymore after Portland was eliminated from the NWSL playoffs Sunday afternoon. (Amy Kontras/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Portland Thorns goalie Bella Bixby took to Twitter on Sunday night following their upset loss to the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL semifinals, and revealed that her father died by suicide last week.

Bixby, though not blaming the loss on that, said she broke down after the game and couldn’t hide it anymore.

“I don’t feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but I do feel like I’m ready to say it,” she wrote. “My father died this week by suicide. And I’ve surprised myself how strong I’ve been, but I couldn’t hold it in anymore. My playing for this city meant so much to him.

“I think regardless of the outcome tonight, I would’ve broke down — you can only hold it in for so long.”

Bixby and the Thorns fell to the Red Stars 2-0 on Sunday, ending their season after many expected them to play for the NWSL title. Portland outshot Chicago 21-5 in the match, but Kate Johnson scored in the 37th minute and Sarah Woldmoe got another one past Bixby in the 59th minute.

That shot, from the corner, barely snuck past Bixby at the post and somehow made its way into the net.

The Red Stars will now take on the Washington Spirit in the championship match.

Bixby finished her second season with the Thorns. She allowed 11 goals in 16 starts.