While a victory -- or even a draw -- against Sporting Kansas City would have given the Crew some control in its playoff destiny, Saturday's 1-0 loss leaves the Black & Gold to scoreboard watch over the final three weeks of the season.
Ike Opara's 17th-minute tally gave Sporting the early advantage and the eventual winner as the Crew was unable to break one of MLS top defenses for an equalizer. The Black & Gold were able to muster just one shot on target on the evening.
"We fought hard, it's just unfortunate because we defended really well," forward Dominic Oduro said after the match. "We just couldn't find the penetration. We had chances, we should've put them on frame."
The effort was there for the entire 90 minutes for the Black & Gold, but at the end of the evening, the Crew tipped its cap to a class Sporting side.
"I told the guys just now as we wrapped it up, I can't fault anybody for any kind of lack of effort," Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss said in his post-match press conference. "It was just good defense of Kansas City and us having a lack of ability to execute a play in the final third."
Added midfielder Tony Tchani: "I just feel like Kansas City was prepared. They prepared well for tonight based on the last game against FC Dallas. They came prepared. It's not like there was something missing. We gave everything we had.
"It was just a tough game."
Now the Black & Gold will be watching next week's Eastern Conference matchups closely as it prepares for its next match on October 19 at the New England Revolution.
"The results of the other games with other teams, hopefully something can happen," Tchani said. "If something happens, we're going to be more motivated to go to New England and win these two games."
The Crew will take the next two weeks to find the same magic it found last month to earn a 4-1-0 record in September. Perhaps simplicity may be the answer for the Black & Gold.
"We've got to get back to the basics and look at what made us great these last couple weeks and get back to that," Oduro said. "That's the only thing we can do right now.
"Two games left, we've just got to go hard."