The Crew's slim playoff hopes took another blow. While fifth place Houston was getting dismantled in Montreal 5-0, Real Salt Lake's four goal outburst sunk any chance Columbus had of coming out of their road trip with a point.
It was clear that the Crew faced an uphill battle to stay in the game. Real Salt Lake controlled the ball and was sharper with their passes throughout the first half. They piled on shots while Columbus was stuck in their own half.
It would take until first half stoppage time for Salt Lake to break through. A Javier Morales free kick would be deflected by the wall and Kyle Beckerman would get another deflection to put it past a stranded Matt Lampson.
The second half would be worse. RSL wasn't content to sit on the lead and broke through again in the 51st minute off a terrible defensive series. Devon Sandoval would finish off an Olmes Garcia cross.
Luis Gil would get the third late in the second half when the Crew defense failed to close down several RSL players. Ned Gbabavoy had plenty of time to find Gil. Gil had plenty of time to pick his shot from point blank range. Kyle Beckerman would add the fourth in the 89th minute.
The biggest news from the match was Federico Higuain's double yellow card. He picked up an early yellow card going for a header, jumping into Javier Morales. That yellow was his fifth of the season and would put him out for the game against Seattle.
After consulting with his assistant, Silviu Petrescu then gave Higuain a late second yellow and thus the red card. A visibly frustrated Higuain then asked both Petrescu and the assistant about the call before being lead off the field.
It is certain that Higuain will be out against Seattle, but he may also miss the game against Houston on the following Wednesday.
It was one of the most dismal performances that the Crew have played this season. With the loss, the team remains seven points behind the Dynamo with one more game played. They would have to pass the New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire to get a chance to inch into the playoffs.
With playoffs realistically out of reach, the results are starting to matter less. The focus will turn to who will be part of the next winning Crew team.