SKC (15-6-7, 52 points) temporarily moved into first place past Seattle, which was scheduled to host third-place Colorado later Sunday night.
Houston Dynamo (5-12-12, 27 points) remains the only club in MLS without a road win.
After showing little life in the first half, Houston surged early in the second. After Tim Melia made his first save of the game on a shot by Darwin Quintero, Fafa Picault took a feed from Griffin Dorsey and punched it past Melia to draw Houston to within 2-1.
Picault appeared to tie the match in the 56th minute, but the offside flag was up.
Sporting responded quickly. Daniel Salloi delivered a perfect pass to Gadi Kinda, returning the favor of Kinda's first-half assist on Salloi's goal. Kinda eluded Houston keeper Michael Nelson and fired it into an open net in the 57th minute. It was Kinda's first goal in 10 games.
Quintero headed in a shot from short range to draw Houston back to within a goal in the 76th minute. Max Urruti then fired one past Melia, but he was ruled offside as well.
Sporting scored first on a penalty kick by Russell, who scored for the fifth straight game. Russell earned the penalty kick when he was tripped from behind in the box by Sam Junqua. After VAR, Russell fired it past Nelson into the lower right corner of the net.
Salloi beat his defender but hit the right post in the 22nd minute. But he didn't miss in the 26th minute. Fed by a perfect pass by Kinda, his first assist in eight matches, Salloi slipped it past Nelson with his left foot. It was Salloi's 16th goal this season, one goal behind Ola Kamara of D.C. United. All 16 of his goals have come on non-penalty kicks, which is three more than any other player.
Sporting KC dominated the first-half stats, owning 67 percent of the possession and outshooting the Dynamo 8-2 with all four of the shots on goal.