Things were looking grim for the Crew until a late counterattack and an impressive goal from distance from Hector Jimenez.
Fabian Espindola scored the opening goal of the game for D.C. in the 31st minute, coming from wide to meet a Nick DeLeon pass and smash his shot into the roof of the net.
After Columbus center back Giancarlo Gonzalez controversially got away with a yellow card for a last-defender foul on Eddie Johnson, the Crew went a man down as Bernardo Anor was ejected in the 81st minute for a studs-up, two-footed tackle.
Despite the red card, Columbus found a late equalizer. Hector Jimenez powered a strike from the top of the penalty area, curling past Andrew Dykstra and making it 1-1.
Columbus is now 3-1-2 so far this year. D.C. is 2-2-2.