Jairo Arrieta scored his first two goals in MLS, and the Columbus Crew surprised Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Arrieta signed with Columbus in April, but the Costa Rican forward debuted for the Crew this month. He scored in the 17th and 34th minutes as Columbus erased an early deficit for its second straight win over an Eastern Conference foe.
Columbus (8-7-4) defeated D.C. United, 1-0, last weekend and added an key road win against Sporting. D.C. and Sporting have both led the East this season.
The Crew remained sixth in the standings, but have played fewer games than all five teams ahead of it in the table.
Sporting (11-7-4) saw its winless skid reach three games as it wasted a chance to move back atop the standings. Red Bull New York, which leads the East, lost to the Montreal Impact, 3-1, on Saturday, but maintained a one-point cushion.
Kei Kamara handed Kansas City the lead after 8 minutes, as he met a free kick from Graham Zusi in the area and powered in a header for his team-high eighth goal this season.
Columbus answered with 10 minutes, as Josh Williams passed to Arrieta, who was able to convert a left-footed shot for his first MLS goal. Arrieta notched the game-winner later in the half, when he converted to the bottom left.
Cole Grossman was sent off 5 minutes into stoppage time for Columbus, and K.C. nearly pulled out a point when Kamara had a chance from inside the 6-yard box, but shot just wide with just seconds remaining.
Both squads return to MLS action Aug. 4, with Columbus at D.C. and Kansas City at the New England Revolution.