Birchall, in his sixth game after being signed in May following three seasons with Los Angeles, ran past the D.C. line to take a leading ball from Jairo Arrieta. Birchall dribbled down the left side and scored from 10 yards out with his left foot for his first goal with the Crew (7-7-4).
“As (Arrieta) he turned inside I noticed no one was going to trap me,” Birchall said. “He spotted me out of the corner of his eye and played a great ball. From there it was trying to take a good first touch and seeing the keeper come out, I tried to drill it under him, really.”
Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made three saves for his seventh shutout.
United (10-7-3) missed a chance to tie the match in the 88th minute when Chris Korb struck the left post with his 18-yarder.
- Belgium tops FIFA ranking, Netherlands down-and-out
- Croatia qualifies for Euro 2016 with help from Italy
- Netherlands loses 3-2 to Czech Republic, misses Euro 2016
- Belgium tops Group B, FIFA ranking after 3-1 win over Israel
- Timbers-Real Salt Lake Preview
- Philippe Blatter-led Infront confirms Italian TV inquiry
- Whitecaps FC-FC Dallas Preview
- VW fallout: Wolfsburg postpones planned training center
- US women's soccer to play China in victory tour finale
- Tim Howard back in goal for US for 1st time since World Cup
- New films scrutinize Brazil's World Cup legacy
- Syria beats Afghanistan, overhauls Japan in Asian qualifying
- Inside FIFA case: How Blatter, Platini could face long bans
- Red Bulls-Toronto FC Preview
- Swiss coach Marcel Koller guides Austria to Euro 2016
- UEFA charges Moldova over fans' racist flags at Russia game