The match was delayed an hour because electricity was out at Crew Stadium until Saturday afternoon following Friday's storms.
Real Salt Lake also had to endure the lack of power at the team hotel for 24 hours and the possibility earlier Saturday that the match might have to be postponed.
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis attributed the problems for the team's sluggish play.
''It's not ideal,'' he said. ''It's too much uncertainty and a little bit of a lack of professionalism the way things were handled over the last 24 hours.''
But Real Salt Lake captain Nat Borchers offered a different take, ''You'd like to make excuses but you can't in this business. We did everything we could to prepare physically and mentally for this game.''
The Crew (6-5-4) are 4-1-3 in the past eight games while Real Salt Lake (10-6-2) lost a third straight game for the first time since July 2007.
Tchani gave the Crew the lead in the 16th minute when he was unmarked 12 yards off goal to convert a pass by Emilio Renteria, who had fallen down, got back up and then made a sharp pass against the grain to Tchani.
''I just kept following the play because Emilio keeps fighting,'' Tchani said. ''I never gave up.''
Gaven made it 2-0 in the 44th minute off a corner kick that began with Chris Birchall. Josh Williams took the ball and passed to Gaven for a shot that hit the crossbar and went in.
The Crew then clamped down in the second half.
- Real Salt Lake
- Columbus Crew
- Tony Tchani
- Eddie Gaven