Shutting Sam Kerr down is no easy feat but Portland Thorns FC have plenty of inside knowledge to tame the prolific Australian striker.

Kerr's Chicago Red Stars face the Thorns in the NWSL semi-final on Sunday (Monday 6.30am AEDT) in Chicago.

The Thorns feature three of Kerr's Matildas' team-mates - Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso - and they are confident they have the plan and players to restrict the Australian who has scored 18 goals for the Red Stars this season.

"Yeah I think it's possible, just like any player in the world," Cowra-born defender Carpenter told AAP on Thursday.

"Obviously Sam is a great striker, but if the backline is on its game and we keep compact and make it hard for her to get through and limit her shooting and scoring possibilities we should be OK."


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Ellie Carpenter, Hayley Raso and Caitlin Foord all booked their spot in the NWSL finals this weekend, although many were rested as their next challenge is an all-too-familiar foe.

The Red Stars also feature Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.

Despite Kerr's MVP-worthy season, the Thorns have an impressive record against the Red Stars, winning three of the four games they played this year.

The Thorns' last two victories were 3-0 and the game they didn't win was a 4-4 draw.

"We are going into the game with that in the back of our minds, but it's semi-finals so anything could happen," Carpenter said.

Sunday's other NWSL semi-final is between North Carolina Courage and Washington's Reign FC, who boast Aussies Steph Catley and Lydia Williams.

The semi-final victors move on to the league championship in Gary, North Carolina on October 27.

There will be little rest for Carpenter and her Matildas despite an already draining World Cup year, with the players going into camp on November 4 to prepare for games against Chile in Sydney on November 9 and in Adelaide on November 12.

Australia's W-League starts November 14.

Carpenter has left Canberra United, but is yet to reveal which W-League team she has signed with.

Most of the Matildas face the prospect of playing two years without a break if they qualify for the July-August 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"There's lots of fatigue - physical and mental - at the moment but you just have to keep going," Carpenter said.


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