- Franco Escobar (39')
Escobar's fourth career playoff goal lifts Houston into its first conference final since 2017, which was also the Dynamo's last postseason appearance. The fourth-seeded Dynamo will visit the winner of No. 2 Seattle against No. 3 LAFC.
Kansas City departs the postseason after sweeping top-seeded St. Louis in their first-round series and prevailing on penalties over the San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference wild-card game.
Sporting was the first team to earn a playoff berth after failing to win its first 10 league matches.
After a first half with chances on both ends, Escobar finally headed Houston into the lead in the 39th minute.
Sporting Kansas City thought they should've had a chase to level from the penalty spot just two minutes after going behind.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark denied Alan Pulido's first one-on-one effort, but when the rebound fell to Daniel Salloi on the left side of the penalty area, his shot appeared to strike the arm of Erik Sviatchenko on the goal line.
The play was checked by video assistant referee Carol Anne Chenard, but not referred to referee Guido Gonzalez Jr. for an on-field review.
Houston's best chance to put the game out of reach came in the 64th minute when Melia took the ball off the foot of Corey Baird in alone on goal.
Five minutes later, Clark sprung to his left to make an excellent save of Salloi's well-struck half-volley.
Kansas City tried to push numbers forward late in search of an equalizer, but Houston looked more likely to score late, with Melia forced into another excellent stop in second-half stoppage time from substitute Aliyu Ibrahim.
- Guido Gonzales Jr.