Bradley scored from a bad angle, beating goalkeeper Steve Clark at the near, right post with a shot taken 2 yards from the end line. Substitute Issey Nakajima-Farran added a goal in the 85th minute off a cross by Justin Morrow.
The goal for Bradley was his second in MLS and first with TFC (3-1-0) in his fourth game after a distinguished European career. His other league goal was Oct. 16, 2005, while with New York.
''That's Michael,'' TFC coach Ryan Nelsen said. ''He has this willingness to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. It's instinctive.''
Bradley ran onto an entry pass from Mark Bloom on the right side of the box, outpacing Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor. Bradley then startled Clark with a shot that went through the goalie's legs.
''At first I was just thinking of getting there before the ball gets out of bounds,'' Bradley said. ''At that point you're looking across. Given the field and the way the goalie is positioned, if I can really nail this ball low and hard it's got a good chance.''
Toronto was without forward Jermain Defoe (hamstring strain), who had scored all three previous TFC goals this season. Toronto was also minus suspended captain Steven Caldwell.
TFC goalkeeper Julio Cesar had critical stops on Bernardo Anor and Tony Tchani in the second half when it was 1-0 to preserve the lead and drop the Crew to 3-0-1. He had five saves.
''We had a horrendous start to the game,'' Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter said. ''It was sloppy in every sense of the word. Our defending, our ball possession, our ball movement, our aggressiveness in our ball movement and we paid for it.''