The scoreboard watching and cheering for rivals to help Columbus in its push for the postseason is over.
In a back-and-forth match with the postseason on the line for both sides, the Crew lost to the New England Revolution in a 3-2 heartbreaker Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The Black & Gold came back to equalize from each of the Revs' first two strikes, but Diego Fagundez's 76th-minute tally proved to be too much for the visitors to top.
Coupled with Montreal and Chicago wins on Saturday, the defeat ensured that Columbus will miss out on the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season.
"It's a tough one to swallow, for sure," Rookie midfielder Wil Trapp said after the match. "Coming back twice and then giving up that third one was kind of a dagger. I thought we battled hard and I'm proud of our guys."
The loss was not for a lack of fight or effort as the Black & Gold desperately pushed forward to create chances in the second half to keep hope alive. Second-year forward Aaron Schoenfeld was a catalyst in the attack, providing his first-career goal and an assist as a halftime substitute in the defeat.
"Everyone was hungry and everyone knew what was on the line," a disappointed Schoenfeld told media following the defeat. "We knew we had to win to try to control our destiny to try to make the playoffs.
"Everyone fought and gave all their effort, we just came up short."
The Crew will close out its season next Sunday in a re-match with the Revolution at Crew Stadium. Despite being out of the playoff race, don't expect the Black & Gold end 2013 on a whimper.
"We owe to our fans to put the best product out there [next week]," Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss said. "It's not going to be all of a sudden turn around and throw out seven guys that haven't played all season.
"We've got to go play and we've got to go play for our fans and for ourselves."