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Canada's Jonathan David scores Canada's second goal against Honduras during the qualifying match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Jan. 27.Delmer Martinez/The Associated Press

Fresh off his latest rewrite of the history books, John Herdman is fast acquiring a reputation as soccer’s streak buster during the Canadian men’s team’s circuitous journey toward what could ultimately lead to a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

After taking full advantage of a snowstorm last November to dispatch Mexico for the first time since the turn of the century, the head coach delivered a more-than-suitable encore on Thursday, as his team ended a 37-year wait for a victory in Honduras.

However, there is one streak understandably absent from the crosshairs, with Canada having won four in a row and riding a nine-game unbeaten run. Next up, as the Canadian men attempt to end a 36-year World Cup wait, is the United States in Hamilton on Sunday. Herdman’s squad has already faced the Americans in this qualifying cycle, coming from behind to earn a 1-1 tie in Nashville last September.

But it was the last time that the men’s national team faced the United States on Canadian soil, in 2019 in Toronto, that arguably set the stage for the team’s current run of success, particularly in helping it negotiate the mental hurdle that this crop of players had to overcome to compete with the best countries in the region. Goals from Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini in a CONCACAF Nations League game were enough to end a 34-year winless run against the United States, and though Canada has lost two of its past three meetings, it now knows it can go toe to toe with its southern rival and emerge triumphant.

Factor in the home-field advantage that the squad will get at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, with Environment Canada forecasting a high of -6, and Canada should be confident of extending its nine-game unbeaten run through the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Just as he did during back-to-back wins over Costa Rica and Mexico in Edmonton before Christmas, Herdman is relishing another opportunity for his squad to test its mettle, if not its base layers.

“You know, teams that win championships, they don’t tend to win them in that sort of August and May time when the sun’s shining,” the Englishman said. “They tend to win them on those tough nights during the winter periods.”

With five wins and four ties through the first nine of 14 games in this final round of qualifying, Canada is just a handful of points away from advancing to the World Cup, in Qatar this November and December. Canada is top of the eight-team qualifying group with 19 points, one more than the United States and two more than Mexico.

The top three teams qualify automatically, while the fourth-placed team will advance to a one-match playoff against the top team from the Oceania region. Panama is in fourth, five points back of Canada.

While the team will continue to miss its best player, Davies, currently recovering from inflammation of the heart, which developed after he contracted COVID-19, Herdman still has the luxury of calling on the likes of Jonathan David, who scored a highlight-reel goal for Canada on Thursday.

It’s players such as the Lille striker – who Herdman jokingly refers to as “ice man” because of his cool head in high-pressure moments – who will be counted upon come Sunday, especially when the temperatures plummet on the artificial turf of Tim Hortons Field.

“Canadians have grown up on plastic pitches, many of them, in cold conditions and you know, these boys, they expect that now, it’s part of our DNA,” Herdman said. “It’s part of this story, the journey.”

One person who knows better than most about the weather vagaries of Tim Hortons Field is Dane Evans, the starting quarterback for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Having played his share of cold-weather games there, including last year’s Grey Cup, which was played on Dec. 12, the latest date yet, Evans says it’s not so much the snow and ice to be feared as it is the wind.

“If you catch it on a day where it’s like bearable, then it’s really not too bad,” Evans said. “But if it’s like the Grey Cup this year at home when it was just super windy, that just makes everything worse.

“So if it’s snowing and windy, that could cause some different things to happen.”

The chief worry about playing on an artificial field such as Hamilton’s is that the temperature gets so cold that the rubber pellets – which are supposed to help traction – freeze, he says.

“When it gets colder and that does happen, then you might as well be playing on the parking lot because it’s like playing on concrete,” said Evans, who will be in attendance Sunday. However, he doesn’t think that Sunday’s predicted low of -8 is low enough to do it, but he says that you can’t always trust the forecast in Steeltown.

“You never really know what you’re getting when you come to Hamilton, weather wise.”