SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Eleven soccer players and two foreign businesspeople accused of match-fixing involving El Salvador's national team were acquitted of criminal charges Friday.
Prosecutors had accused the defendants of money-laundering, cover-up and illegal association, and they faced possible sentences of up to 19 years if convicted.
Judge Ernesto Parada ruled that the suspects' alleged conduct did not rise to the level of the criminal charges and was instead a matter of morality and conscience.
Lionel Messi could sit out Argentina's friendly against El Salvador on Saturday with soreness in his foot.
Scans have shown no tangible injury, but the Barcelona forward has been training separately from the squad in the Georgetown University gym and appears unlikely to start the friendly in Washington, D.C.
Tuesday's clash with Ecuador in New Jersey could be a more realistic target for Messi as coach Gerardo Martino considers selecting different line-ups for each game.
Messi has been the focal point...
Barbados turned around a first-leg deficit to defeat U.S. Virgin Islands 4-0 and advance in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Thursday.
Raheim Sargeant scored just four minutes in as Barbados, ranked 131st in FIFA's rankings, erased the deficit from the 1-0 home defeat in the first leg to a team ranked 197th.
Jamal Chandler gave Barbados the edge in the 25th minute and goals in the second half from Mario Harte and Chandler helped Barbados into the second round in June against Aruba.
In other action...
The United States will face Panama, Haiti, and the winner of a playoff between Honduras and French Guiana in Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage this summer.
The tournament will be played across 12 U.S. sites and Toronto from July 7-26.
The defending champion United States opens the Gold Cup against the playoff winners in Frisco, Texas, then plays Haiti on July 10 in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and completes the group stage against Panama in Kansas City, Kansas, in a rematch of the 2013...