Birchall scored by latching on to a through ball along the left channel from Jairo Arrieta. With Joe Willis rushing out to cut down the angle, the former Los Angeles Galaxy player beat the United keeper low to Willis' right for the only goal of the game.
United (10-7-3, 33 points) had chances to equalize, but Dwayne De Rosario's 50th-minute goal was ruled out for offside (as had happened to an apparent Columbus goal during the first half). Additionally, United defender Chris Korb had a shot hit the post in the 88th minute that helped seal the visiting side's fate.
D.C. United step away from MLS play next Saturday to play a friendly against French club Paris Saint-Germain. On Saturday, August 4, United resumes MLS play with a return match against Columbus (7-7-4, 25 points).
For more on D.C. United, visit Black And Red United. For a perspective on the Columbus Crew, check out Massive Report. And for news and notes from all across the world of the beautiful game, visit SB Nation's soccer hub.