Davies’ absence has been felt, but overall, Herdman refers to the 21-year-old as a “generational talent”, capable of transporting Canadian soccer out of a niche environment and into mainstream society.
“He is an influencer, not only through what he has done on the field but through his social media presence,” said Herdman.
“I have an 11-year-old daughter who is obsessed with what he is doing on Tik-Tok. She has never had an interest in soccer all the way through her time in Canada.
“We have a generation of fans for whom this is genuinely new.metasports
“The hardcore fans are there setting the tone but the sports fans are the future now. They are going to fall in love with this sport.”
“There are moments in those games where the opportunity to check out is there. The ability to say ‘OK, we have an excuse, it is too hot’. The brain is always playing with that.
“It was time for our opponents to get that feeling.”
So the Mexico game was played in Edmonton, where the temperature during the match was recorded at -9C and the snow fell beforehand – lots of it.
“We could have played in a more hospitable climate, maybe even in a closed, indoor stadium, but we were pretty clear this was a new Canada,” said Herdman.
“It is a very resilient nation that has grown up having to play on plastic fields and in cold conditions. We looked at it as an opportunity.
“When people say ‘why haven’t Canada qualified?’ [for so long] you can see the challenges of managing the Concacaf window. Three games in seven days and thousands of miles of travelling to get those games done.”
Those players are evidence of the growing strength of youth development in Canada – and the wider interest in football in a country that has traditionally focused on more established sports.
“Canada is a hockey nation, but football is the highest participation sport,” said Herdman, speaking to BBC Sport in January.
“All the kids play football, that is the reality. The country has a very diverse demographic. We have a lot of immigrants, including myself, whose first love is football.
“But they have not had a national team to rally around. The women’s team has been uber successful but the men’s team hasn’t broken that threshold.
“It is a sleeping giant. It is ready to put itself into the sporting consciousness of the genuine Canadian sports fan.”