The center back nodded home a Graham Zusi service to give the visitors three key points in their chase for the Eastern Conference's top seed.
Desperately in need of a result at home, the Crew dropped a 1-0 decision to Kansas City that leaves it two points behind the Chicago Fire — who have a game in hand — for the final playoff position. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Columbus, which had surged back into the postseason picture.
Sporting, meanwhile, gained two points on the first-place Red Bulls, who tied New England 2-2. Kansas City, which has won four of its past five, now trails New York by two points but with one more match to play.
Kansas City grabbed the only goal it needed in the 17th minute. After a corner kick bounced around the box and eventually popped out to Graham Zusi, the playmaker swung in a service that an unmarked Ike Opara nodded home at the far post.
Although Columbus dominated possession as it pushed for the equalizer, the Crew failed to crack Kansas City's sturdy back line.