The Toronto FC striker scored in his first club appearance since March and was pleased to show his worth, having been left out of the England squad for the World Cup
Defoe struck his fifth goal in seven appearances for Toronto since joining the MLS club from Tottenham in January, thumping the ball into the top-right corner of the net after just 11 minutes against New York Red Bulls.
Hodgson announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup on Monday and could not find a spot for Defoe, instead naming Wayne Rooney, Rickie Lambert, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck as his strikers.
While Defoe was put on England's reserve list - meaning he could be promoted if one of the initial 23 are injured - the 31-year-old could not contain his disappointment.
"I don't think I'll ever be at peace [with the decision]," the striker said.
"When you've been involved in every squad and the World Cup comes around and you're not in the 23, it's hard to understand.
"It's only normal when you get a disappointment to try to prove people wrong, and just to remind people, at the end of the day, this is what I'm doing."
"I think I did that today."
Defoe, who has scored 19 goals in 55 games for England, missed all of April with a hamstring strain.
The veteran striker returned earlier this month in the Canadian Championship, helping Toronto into the final, and scored in front of his home fans in his first MLS appearance since March.