By Sam Vanolinda
Photo courtesy of Cisco's Art
After some time has passed for Charlotte FC fans to digest the team’s Wildcard Round exit and everything in between, TopBin90 put out a fan survey, asking for opinions on the second season of this club's existence.
With hundreds of responses from The Crown’s passionate fan base, we can now look at the data and get a general view of how TopBin90 followers felt about this season and the club's future.
Here’s a look at the questions we asked and the variance of responses we received.
Player of the season
Player of the season is the most obvious question that we asked. It was a foregone conclusion that 26-year-old forward Karol Świderski would receive a large majority of the vote.
Out of the 316 responses, 198 or 62.7% of fans had Świderski as their player of the season.
More interesting was looking at who would finish second and third in this voting. Kristijan Kahlina came in second, with 43 or 13.6% of the vote, and Captain Ashley Westwood came in third with 46 or 14.6% of votes.
Coming off the momentum of his heroics against Inter Miami to save the season, it makes sense that Kahlina came in second place, and the leadership and solidity of Ashley Westwood in the midfield garnered him a chunk of votes.
The fourth-place player was Adilson Malanda with ten votes—then a scattering of players below double digits.
Favorite moment of the season
The favorite moment of the season was another obvious choice for the TopBin90 fans. It may be a result of some recency bias, but the decision-day win versus Inter Miami at Bank of America Stadium was the landslide winner.
The atmosphere that was produced beating Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets in a must-win game is hard not to nominate as the best moment of this season for the Crown.
In second came Brandon Cambridge's two goals off the bench versus Real Salt Lake early in the season. The 21-year-old rookie came into MLS with a bang.
Other highlights were the win against rivals Atlanta United away from home, as well as a small amount of voters for the home win versus LAFC.
TopBin90 fans also submitted their favorite moments in the “other” section, including “Vargas scoring the first playoff goal in franchise history” and “Bender’s last-minute goal versus Dallas.”
Some less optimistic fans chimed in with “N/A” and “When it ended.”
There were plenty of low moments for Charlotte FC this year. Instead of focusing on one game where the team dropped points, the winner here was “Dropped points in general.”
There were just too many individual games in which Charlotte lost a lead to not group it together. That being said, some of the most heartbreaking games, like the Nashville 98th minute penalty, which received 45 or 14.2% of the vote, or the playoff elimination against NYRB, were some low points that fans voted for.
Which player do you wish got more minutes?
Being such a young, technically and physically skilled striker, it made sense that Patrick Agyemang would be the player that fans want to see get more minutes in the future.
Especially after scoring a goal shortly after his appearance in the Wildcard loss versus NYRB, Agyemang is the most exciting player within the organization. With Swiderski likely heading to Europe, it seems like fans' prayers will be answered, and we will see a lot more of Agyemang in 2024.
Agyemang received 198 or 62.7% of the votes. In second came Kerwin Vargas, who ended the season hotter than any player on the team.
After finding himself on the bench for an extended period, Vargas exploded at the end of the season, scoring the winning goal against Miami and an incredible bicycle kick against NYRB.
Coming in third was fan favorite Scott Arfield, a midfielder who came in and scored many timely goals off the bench during the season but could not often crack the starting lineup.
Also mentioned was youngster Brandon Cambridge, with four votes.
What is Charlotte FC’s biggest need?
This vote was more spread out amongst the fans. The winner was a new coach, with 143 or 45.3% of votes.
In second came a midfield creator, with 82 or 25.9% of votes— third was a new winger, with 82 or 25.9% of votes.
And then came a huge chunk of fans filling in their own opinion in the “other” section.
Some of these “other” inputs included: “An undeniable star quality player. (Ex: Almada, Mukhtar), A lot of people said “Defender,” especially an experienced CB who can help Malanda and Privett.
One person suggested a strong defensive midfielder in the mold of Rodri from Manchester City, and a couple said a complete clean house and replacement of the DP players on the team.
This is a very opinionated question. It is obvious that despite ending the season on a somewhat high note making the Wildcard, fans want some change coming into next year.
Defender of the season
This vote was another close one. A lot of fans were somewhat confused because of the 52 goals the team allowed this season why there would be a defender of the season.
Despite the number of goals given up towards the closing stage of the year when Privett jumped in as a starting CB, and the backline became consistently starting, defending started to improve slightly.
Adilson Malanda won this vote with 130 or 41.1% of votes. The 22-year-old Frenchman had some shaky moments this year but also had some incredible games, both blocking shots, making last-ditch tackles, and passing out from the back.
Malanda was called upon often to defend in uneven counter-attacks when Charlotte would press high and get a ball in behind. This is a tough situation to put a young defender in, and he handled himself well a lot of the time.
3rd round draft pick Andrew Privett, who played defensive midfield in college, was voted second, with 23.4% of votes. His midfield background makes him incredibly composed on the ball, which is very important for center-backs in this era.
Jaylin Lindsey, Nathan Bryne, and Jere Uronen combined for close to 25% of the vote, three full backs that provided solid performances this season.
Goal of the Season
These last two sections were both short answers. The goal of the season was a race between Brecht Dejaegere’s scorpion kick versus Toronto and Kerwin Vargas’ bicycle kick versus Miami.
The winner ended up being… the Kerwin Vargas bicycle kick versus NYRB with 97 votes.
What about the team excites you for next season?
This was the question with the most variety, allowing fans to input their short answer. Here are a few of the highlights:
“Hope for some better results, and fewer dropped points. This is close to being a good team, but need to get over the final hurdle.”
“The team looked like they were starting to put it together at the end of the season. If they can find ways to hold on to the lead, they will do great.”
“We have a chance to clean house (offload dead weight) and really implement a style of play around players that I hope Lattanzio can better work with. Also, we have had a few young players that I believe will get more minutes next year that will help with depth and overall morale.”
“Most of the work at the end of the season was done by Non-DPs. I feel great about the chance to add 2-4 DPs this winter.”
“We saw this team go from losing consistently to earning a maddening number of draws. It’s not hard to imagine a world where some of those draws become wins and we can begin to climb the table.”
We want to thank all of the incredible Topbin90 fans and Charlotte FC fans who have interacted with us throughout the season and on this survey. We look forward to providing updates and stories throughout the offseason and are excited to see you again soon at Bank of America Stadium!