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It's become abundantly clear that every matchday will be a struggle for playing time, and this past weekend was no different.

There is a big enough sample size now to definitively say that the 2013-14 season will be a struggle for most Canadians Abroad, as many of the established veterans wind down their careers while the youngsters battle to adjust to first team football, mostly in North America.

This awkward transition is reflected at the national team level, where Benito Floro's side displays a bevvy of promising MLSers alongside aging stalwarts, with a noticeable absence of top-level players in their prime years playing major roles for club sides on either side of the Atlantic.

This past weekend was an example of this talent gap, with the over-30 crowd still playing the biggest roles with their clubs while the younger players mostly had bit roles.


One of the older players holding the fort for Canadians in Europe is goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld, who has ended the Norwegian season as his team's No. 1 after giving way to a much younger netminder for much of the campaign.

In Saturday's Eliteserien finale, Hirschfeld led Vålerenga to a 2-0 victory over Sandnes Ulf. The two sides were tied on points heading into the match, meaning that Vålerenga ends the season three points above Sandnes Ulf in 11th place.


Another veteran 'keeper playing regularly in northern Europe is former Toronto FC man Kenny Stamatopoulos, who also backstopped his side to a season-ending victory over the weekend.

Stamatopoulos' AIK bested Helsingborg 2-1, a result that didn't matter in the standings for AIK as it had already been assured of a second place finish behind Allsvenskan champion Malmo FF.

AIK will compete in next year's UEFA Europa League.


Over in Germany, Simeon Jackson made a cameo appearance for Eintracht Braunschweig in a 0-0 draw at Hannover 96 on Friday. The 26-year-old subbed in during stoppage time as his team looked to grab all three points in the stalemate, but he couldn't make a difference in the negligible amount of time he was given.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, left-footer Marcel de Jong remained on the bench for FC Augsburg as it was easily dispatched 3-0 by host Bayern Munich.

De Jong consistently gets into Augsburg's gameday roster, but he's only played 155 league minutes so far this season.

Down a rung in the 2. Bundesliga, defender André Hainault sat on the sidelines and watched as his club, VfR Aalen, fell 2-0 at unfancied Ingolstadt on Friday.

Like de Jong, Hainault just doesn't seem to be able to crack the playing squad despite being consistently named in the gameday 18.

Joining de Jong and Hainault as benchwarmers over the weekend was striker Rob Friend, who remained seated for 1860 Munchen in a 1-0 win at Arminia Bielefeld.

Friend has seen a bit more action so far this year than his compatriots in Germany, but his single goal in 559 league minutes won't do much to help him get back into the starting XI.

Meanwhile in Frankfurt, Olivier Occean played the final 11 minutes for FC Kaiserslautern in a 4-0 rout of FSV Frankfurt. The 32-year-old subbed in after all the goals had already been scored and managed to earn a yellow card just a minute after entering the game.


Perhaps the most consistent Canadian Abroad, midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, put in another 90-minute shift in Beşiktaş' latest victory.

Hutchinson's side grabbed an expected 3-0 win over bottom-feeding Kayserispor, keeping fourth place Beşiktaş within shouting distance of the Super Lig's top three teams.

Elsewhere in Turkey's top flight, goalkeeper Milan Borjan's exile from Sivasspor's first team continued, as the 26-year-old was nowhere to be found during his club's 2-1 win over Bursaspor.

In the 1. Lig, attacker Tosaint Ricketts started and played 90 for Bucaspor in a 1-0 loss to Ankaraspor. Ricketts' teammate, former Canadian international Tam Nsaliwa, did not dress for the match.


After missing the past few weeks due to injury, Julian de Guzman was deemed fit enough to sit on the bench for SKODA Xanthi in its 2-2 draw at Asteras Tripolis on Monday.

De Guzman is a regular starter for Xanthi when healthy, so expect to see him worked back into the lineup fairly quickly.


Over in nearby Cyprus, young striker Daniel Haber did not see any match action for Apollon Limassol on Monday, as the team grabbed a 1-0 victory at Enosis.

Given that Apollon is at the top of the Cypriot table, it'll take something drastic for Haber to get into the starting XI in the foreseeable future.


In England's Championship division, Junior Hoilett went 90 minutes for Queens Park Rangers in a 1-1 draw at Reading. QPR's recent form has seen it fall to third in the standings, but the London club still looks a good bet to be in the discussion for automatic promotion at the end of the season.

One of the teams above QPR, league-leading Burnley, battled to a 1-1 draw with visiting AFC Bournemouth, with Canadian David Edgar remaining on the bench for the deadlock.

Floro said late last week that Edgar was not selected for a pair of upcoming national team friendlies due to injury, but it seems that -- given his inclusion in Burnley most recent gameday squad -- the Kitchener, Ont., native is still relatively fit.

League One was off this weekend as clubs participated in the FA Cup, and Iain Hume's Preston North End enjoyed one of the biggest margins of victory in a 6-0 win over Conference side Barnet.

Hume was dressed for the match, but the diminutive striker remained on the bench as PNE clearly did not require his services in dispatching the lower league side.

Meanwhile, Marcus Haber did not dress for Notts County's FA Cup meeting with League Two club Hartlepool United, and perhaps that decision was a mistake as Haber's team fell 3-2.