Columbus, Ohio • The last time Real Salt Lake and the Crew met in Columbus was Feb. 22, for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. The kickoff temperature was 25 degrees, the wind chill was 19, and portions of the Crew Stadium concourse were closed because of icy conditions.
Wednesday was vastly different, as it was 91 degrees, sunny and humid for the Crew's 2-1 victory.
"Both teams looked pretty sluggish throughout the match," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "It's always difficult to play in 95-degree weather, but again, no excuse.
"The heat presents its challenges for us. We've been dealing with really, really moderate weather in Salt Lake."
The conditions weren't the only problem for RSL, as the Royals struggled to find form without Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica); Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador) and Will Johnson (Canada), who are at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"We couldn't keep the ball too well, which is unlike us," defender Chris Wingert said. "[The Crew] were in our half a lot, which is pretty unusual. They were in our half more than any team this year."
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was more direct: "Some guys came in and didn't want to put the effort in.
"Some guys acted like they were defending and didn't really defend. Today we didn't get the result because we didn't put the effort in."
After Jamison Olave scored in the seventh minute it was his first on the road in nine career goals the Crew got a penalty kick by Andres Mendoza in the 76th minute and a deflected score by Josh Gardner in the 82nd.
It was the first time in 63 matches, back to May 6, 2009, (in a 2-2 tie against Los Angeles) that RSL defenders had allowed two goals past the 75th minute.