Crew: 9 reasons not to jump ship … yet

Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

Just when it was starting to seem like Robert Warzycha, Mark McCullers and the rest of the Crew brass could throw the smack down on their critics with an emphatic "Told ya so," Columbus began to crumble.

If you thought the 6-2 loss in Seattle was bad, the Crew took a week off, returned to their home pitch and lost 4-2 to bottom-feeding Toronto, a team that had never beaten Columbus. For non-soccer fans needing some perspective, that's even worse than losing to the Bengals at home.

After press time, Columbus hosted Houston midweek, so they might be back on the good foot by the time you read this - all the more reason to take seriously this list of nine reasons to hold out hope.

The Crew is still in first place. Yes, the Western Conference is way stronger - the Crew would be in sixth place there - but come playoff time, Western supremacy won't matter as much. As of now, the Crew would still have home field advantage until MLS Cup and would face significantly weaker competition to get there.

The last two MLS Cup winnersbarelymade it into the playoffs. Neither Salt Lake in 2009 nor Colorado in 2010 looked like a contender before the playoffs started.

The Crew isn't peaking early. Still plenty of time to catch the next momentum wave just in time for the playoffs.

The Crew is scoring goals. The past two losses were by scores of 6-2 and 4-2. Usually, two goals per game would be enough to win in MLS. Now if only the suddenly flabby defense could get its issues sorted out…

The rookies are still rookies. All the rookies that have seen significant time for the Crew have shown flashes of brilliance. They've each also had moments best approximated by an elongated fart sound. Let's choose to remember that they're still rookies with bright futures ahead.

The Los Angeles Galaxy is coming to town next week. You don't want to miss all those high-priced superstars!

The Crew plays D.C., New England and Chicago in October. Columbus faces some of the weakest teams in MLS to close out the season.

Robert Warzycha still looks like Daniel Craig. And James Bond always knows what to do.

If you just lost to Toronto FC at home, you can be sure you've hit rock bottom and there's nowhere to go but up. Amen.

Columbus Crew at Philadelphia Union

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17