Through the first 80 minutes of Saturday's match in Toronto, it seemed as if the Crew would once again leave BMO Field unscathed as it had done in the previous eight trips to Ontario. Dominic Oduro scored his team-leading ninth goal in the 17th minute to put the Black & Gold ahead early on and Toronto FC failed to really trouble Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum throughout the match.
But then, for the third time in four matches, Columbus buckled to concede two goals in the last 10 minutes of the match to fall to the Reds for just the second time in the two clubs' history. The equalizer came in the 87th minute when Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio slipped past Chad Marshall to beat Gruenebaum to his right in front of net. Halftime substitute Andrew Wiedeman found the winner for the Reds in the fourth and final minute of second-half stoppage time, tapping Bobby Convey's service into the net and out of the reach of Gruenebaum to lift Toronto FC to its third victory of the season.
After the match, Crew players and staff were at a loss for words after the defeat to their Trillium Cup rival.
"There's not much to say," defender Josh Williams said. "I don't really know, I'm kind of in disbelief right now after the streaky games we've had here. I don't really know what to say. We lost focus there at the end, I guess."
Added Head Coach Robert Warzycha: "I think it's another game where we couldn't close the game and we gave up the goals -- stupid goals -- in the last 10 minutes of the game. It's been the story of our season and I'm very disappointed.
"I think we have to look at ourselves and make sure we do more at the end of the games."
The loss is the Crew's sixth in its last 10 matches. With just 13 games remaining in 2013, the Black & Gold will need to get to find itself in a lengthy winning streak if it hopes to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The club's confidence has been tested in the recent adversity.
"When the [losses] pile on like they're doing, these are testing times," Gruenebaum admitted after the defeat. "I think each person has to look at themselves and that starts with me. I didn't obviously have the best game of my life out there.
"I need to take from this 'Look, we're going through a tough time and what can I do to get better.' Each person has to have that mentality and we have to be able to close out games."
The Crew returns to action next Saturday on the road against the Houston Dynamo before welcoming the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC for a two-match homestand.