Sporting (10-5-3) has 33 points, tying them with idle D.C. United.
Houston (6-5-7) earned a road point and extended its unbeaten streak to three matches despite being outshot 17-7.
It was the first meeting between Kansas City and Houston since the Dynamo's 2-0 win at Livestrong Sporting Park in the 2011 Eastern Conference final.
Jacob Peterson gave Sporting its best chance to take all three points when his shot in the 33rd minute beat Hall, but caromed off the right post and back into play.
Houston's best opportunities came early, but Sporting defender Matt Besler blocked Will Bruin's shot in the ninth minute and Nielsen saved Boniek Garcia's low shot in the 15th.
- Houston Dynamo
- Sporting Kansas City
- Livestrong Sporting Park
- Kansas City
- Jimmy Nielsen