On the ropes following two consecutive stoppage-time defeats, the Crew received another blow on Saturday night as it fell 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo.
A ninth-minute penalty whistled on veteran defender Chad Marshall set the tone for the evening as Brad Davis converted from the spot to open the scoring. Just past the half-hour mark, Oscar Boniek Garcia would carve the Crew backline to find Will Bruin in the box for the Dynamo's second tally before halftime.
Despite taking a 2-0 deficit into the break, the Crew had created a few chances in the first 45 minutes of play.
"We created chances, we could have scored the goals and obviously we didn't. [Houston] played well in the first half," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said. "They scored two goals and both goals were on turnovers."
The Black & Gold did show flashes of hope in second half as rookie Ryan Finley was subbed-on at halftime to provide a spark in the final third. Finley was at the center of the action when Kofi Sarkodie knocked the ball away from the rookie forward and past Dynamo 'keeper Tally Hall for an own goal to make it 2-1 in the 75th minute.
Despite multiple efforts from Finley and others in the attack, the Crew's fate was eventually sealed in the 85th minute when Cam Weaver drilled his shot into the upper corner of the net from the top of the box to make it 3-1.
Keeping positive after losing three matches in a row for the second time this season, the Black & Gold are confident they can dig themselves out of the rut they currently find themselves in. The Crew kicks off a two-game homestand next week against the New York Red Bulls.
"We have to stick together," forward Dominic Oduro said. "We really have to work as a team. That's the only way it's going to work."
Added Finley: "We've just got to keep our heads up. It's not a work-ethic thing at practice or anything like that. You're just kind of unlucky sometimes in this sport. I think the most important thing is that we've got to stay positive and we've got to stay strong in the locker room.
"Things will turn around eventually, I'm pretty sure of that."