An 88th minute Robbie Findley goal gave the Royals a dramatic victory which gives them a good chance of overcoming the reigning champions in their two-league series.
RSL's Javier Morales admitted that Crew came to Rio Tinto Stadium just to get a tie and had no desire in winning the match.
"They just dropped back, they never attacked," Morales said. "They came in here just for the tie."
Goalscorer Findley said it was a tough, fighting win and he was happy to contribute the winning goal after missing a good chance earlier in the contest.
"We just didn't stop fighting," Findley said.
"I just kept my head up and was able to get a good ball at the near post and ... get on the end of it," he said of his goal.
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando said the Royals now had given themselves every chance of going through to the next stage of the play-offs.
"If we go in there and play right, and our forwards finish the goals how they've been finishing them, I think we'll be OK," he said.