"We put a lot of pride in doing things like not losing three in a row," he said. "It feels different, like losing two in a row at home. It puts us in a position we're not familiar with, we're not comfortable with.
"I still believe in this group. They've got to believe in themselves."
Tony Tchani scored in the 16th minute and Eddie Gaven in the 44th for the Crew (6-5-4), who improved to 4-1-3 in the past eight games.
Tchani slotted a pass near the penalty spot from Emilio Renteria, who had slipped upon receiving a pass on the left side of the by Sebastian Miranda but regained his footing to beat Chris Wingert to the end line before finding an unmarked Tchani.
Gaven doubled the lead off a corner kick. Josh Williams settled the service by Chris Birchall and passed to Gaven at the top of the goal box for a left-footed shot that rattled the crossbar and dropped over the line.
"We're not giving up many chances but the chances we are giving up we're getting punished for," RSL defender Nat Borchers said. "That's the game of soccer some times.
"They shouldn't be a team that breaks us down. We made two mistakes. We didn't punish them for their mistakes."
He didn't blame the loss on the unsettled trip that included finding places that had air conditioning around the hotel because temperatures were in the 90's the past two days.
"You'd like to make excuses but you can't in this business," he said. "We did everything we could to prepare physically and mentally for this game. They went through it, too. We didn't bring our A game tonight."
Nonetheless, Kreis was not pleased.
"It's too much uncertainty and a little bit of a lack of professionalism the way things were handled over the last 24 hours," he said. "In situations like this there should be a backup plan in place and they should move forward with that very quickly in my opinion.
"This brings about a problem that doesn't happen often but we've got to move forward and figure out solutions for everybody involved."
R RSL dropped to 4-10-1 all-time vs. the Crew in the regular season and is 1-6 at Crew Stadium, having dropped the past six games in Columbus.
• Captain Kyle Beckerman missed the match because of caution points accumulation; defender Jamison Olave (calf strain) and midfielder Ned Grabavoy (adductor strain) did not play.